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Indonesia eases Covid regulations, allowing children to return to school in Jakarta

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Children in Jakarta will return to school on Monday for the first time in almost 18 months, as Indonesia eases restrictions in some areas in the wake of one of the world's biggest Covid outbreaks.

Last week, Indonesia gradually eased its restrictions, allowing restaurants and houses of worship to open to 25 percent capacity and malls to operate at 50 percent capacity.
Greater Jakarta, greater Bandung, and greater Surabaya were among the areas in Java and Bali where the relaxed laws were implemented.


Schools in Jakarta are also starting to reopen their doors.
According to the Jakarta Education Agency, 610 schools will be ready to start face-to-face schooling on Monday, with sessions held at half the customary size.
The schools will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the remaining days being used to sanitise classrooms.

“This new policy has enthralled the instructors, children, and parents because we haven't studied in class in a long time,” said Nidia Khaofiya, a 27-year-old elementary school teacher in East Jakarta.
Since March 16, 2020, all Jakarta schools have been closed.


Teachers have attended online discussions with parents in the lead up to the reopening to ensure that the proper safety precautions are taken.
Hand sanitizers have been made and washbasins have been set in front of each class.

“I believe our work will be larger since we must ensure that pupils constantly wear masks and practise social distance at school,” said Nidia, who teaches a fourth-grade class of 10 and 11-year-olds.
Children will take turns going to school in order to keep class sizes around 50%.
Teachers will have to handle both online and offline teaching, which implies more work for them.


Just a few months ago, Jakarta was one of Indonesia's worst-affected provinces, with the largest number of Covid-19 cases.
However, the number of infections in the capital has gradually decreased.
As of Sunday, Jakarta had registered 474 daily new cases, a significant decrease from previous months.
On the other hand, on July 12th, it had one of its busiest days in terms of Covid cases, with over 14,600 new infections in a single day.


“Everything is going very well in Jakarta; active cases, hospital bed occupancy rates, and Covid deaths are all steadily reducing.
“This occurred because the restriction was properly applied and vaccine coverage was increased,” said Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia.


9.8 million people have received their first dose of vaccine in Jakarta, which has the greatest vaccination coverage in the country, while 5.6 million have had two doses.
According to Nidia, all of their students and nearly all of their teachers have been vaccinated.
However, in some areas where vaccine access has been limited, there are concerns that school reopenings would result in an increase in infections among youngsters.


Children who have contracted Covid in Indonesia have had one of the highest rates of deaths.

Save the Children data showed that until July, 351,336 children under the age of 18 had been infected with Covid, with 777 of them dying as a result of the virus.

According to the Ministry of Health, the percentage of overall Covid cases among children under the age of 18 has increased to 12.9 percent, up from 5% in July of previous year.
The ministry also reported a 1% case fatality rate among youngsters under the age of 18.


While everyday infections in Jakarta have decreased, the situation is different elsewhere.
Aceh, Lampung, Riau, and North Sumatera have all seen an increase in cases.
These provinces are among those that will be subject to the most stringent restrictions, known as level four, until September 6th.


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Edited by ASEAN NOW Content Team
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