Indonesian police tighten covid entry controls in West Papuan districts

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Inspector-General Tornagogo Sihombing
Indonesian police Inspector-General Tornagogo Sihombing inspects a checkpoint at Maruni village intersection in Manokwari Selatan sub-district in West Papua province yesterday. Image: Hans Arnold Kapisa/Antara

By HA Kapisa and Rahmad Nasution in Manokwari, West Papua

Indonesian police have begun tightening entry controls in Manokwari district and Sorong city as part of the enforcement of an emergency partial lockdown this week.

West Papua Police Inspector-General Tornagogo Sihombing yesterday inspected a checkpoint at Maruni village intersection in Manokwari Selatan sub-district to review his men’s preparedness for the partial lockdown.

Police will take strict action against those found violating the government’s partial lockdown, which has been enforced to curb the spread of covid-19 infections in communities, he said.

People must comply with the rules for the sake of everyone’s safety and to avoid penalties, he added.

Several checkpoints have been set up to monitor the mobility of people through Teluk Bintuni, Manokwari Selatan, Pegunungan Arfak, Maybart, Tambrauw, Teluk Wondama, Fakfak, and Kaimana districts, as well as Sorong city, he said.

Only those working in essential sectors and in possession of vaccination certificates are being allowed to pass through the checkpoints, he said.

On Monday, West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan had announced the start of the partial lockdown from July 12 to 20 to help the provincial government cope with a resurgence of infections.

Surge of infections
The decision to impose the partial lockdown was made after considering the recent surge in infections, the conditions in hospitals, and the vaccination rates in Manokwari and Sorong, he said.

The imposition of the partial lockdown is supported by assessment level 4 criteria such as hospital bed occupancy, which has exceeded 65 percent, and a significant spike in covid-19 cases, he said.

Vaccination rates in the two areas, which have remained below 50 percent, are also among the parameters considered for the lockdown, Mandacan said.

He added that West Papua remained categorised as a red zone, or an area with a very high risk of infection.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, West Papua province had recorded 13,476 confirmed coronavirus cases, he said.

During the partial lockdown, the provincial government has ordered all shopping malls, houses of worship, offices, shops, tourist sites, and public facilities to remain closed.

People were prohibited from outdoor activities, Mandacan said.

Essential sectors such as banking, healthcare services, energy and staple food supplies, and export-oriented industries were exempt from the partial lockdown.

Those involved in logistics, food industries, transportation, construction, disaster mitigation, nation’s strategic projects, and provision of basic necessities would be allowed to operate, but in compliance with health protocols, the governor said.

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