Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway makes steady progress amid COVID-19 pandemic
Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway makes steady progress
Published: Aug 02, 2020 06:53 PM

Intensive work to build the No 1 tunnel of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway station Halim is underway round-the-clock to assemble a huge tunnel boring machine on March 20, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

The high-speed rail project linking Indonesia's Jakarta and Bandung, being constructed by Chinese workers, has progressed well amid the country's COVID-19 prevention and control measures. 

By sticking to virus prevention measures, strict management, thoughtful planning and reasonable process scheduling, the rail project has made steady progress: the building of the main roadbed, bridges, tunnels and stations have all moved forward as planned, said China's top economic planner the National Development and Reform Commission. 

A source close to the railway project told the Global Times Sunday the pressure to prevent the virus is massive as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in Indonesia. Despite this, around 4,000 workers of China Railway Group have been safe from the coronavirus, the source said. 

Earlier, some delays to the construction progress have been experienced to adhere to the country's strict pandemic prevention. Now, most key Chinese technicians have returned to work in Indonesia, the source noted.

Another person working for the project, who wanted to be anonymous, confirmed that all Chinese administrative staff had returned to the project after mid-July, and their absence did not impede the construction. 

So far, the No.5 and No.3 tunnels have been completed. The No.1 tunnel shield and track-laying work have also progressed well. 

According to a video posted by the commission, the project stores three months' worth of relevant medical supplies and living materials to support the construction workers.

The Jakarta-Bandung railway is one of the key projects under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and one of the Indonesian government's national strategic projects. 

The railway line is 142.3 kilometers long and will be used for trains with a maximum speed of up to 350 kilometers per hour. The journey between Jakarta and Bandung, which traditionally takes more than three hours, will be shortened to 40 minutes.

In the future, China and Indonesia will continue to work together and speed up project construction in a safe manner in order to put the railway into use as soon as possible, the commission said. 

As of Sunday, Indonesia has seen more than 109,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the country's death toll exceeding 5,100, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.