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Indonesia to ease lockdown May 20 to save shattered economy


INDONESIAN officials have started talks on reopening the country for business from June, as job losses accelerate and businesses struggle to survive strict social-distancing rules against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs earlier this week discussed an "exit strategy" from the lockdown imposed in large cities, including Jakarta. The strategy calls for social-distancing rules to be removed in five phases, with the economy completely reopened by late July or early August.

Authorities in Jakarta have extended the partial lockdown - which includes a ban on gatherings of more than five people, limited public transport and mandatory work-from-home - to May 22. More than 20 other cities and three provinces have similar restrictions in place through the end of May.

President Joko Widodo's administration is preparing to ease curbs on mobility even as the virus continues to infect and kill people, echoing a push to gradually reopen economies from the US to Britain amid massive job losses and damage to business.

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