College neighbourhoods are ‘like ghost towns’ as Jakarta university remains shut amid COVID-19

College neighbourhoods are ‘like ghost towns’ as Jakarta university remains shut amid COVID-19

JAKARTA: With the majority of their occupants studying remotely from home, the neighbourhoods near one of Indonesia’s most prestigious universities appeared quiet and desolate.

Outside the gates of University of Indonesia – a vast, 320ha campus located just south of the Indonesian capital Jakarta – dormitories and houses for rent have been mostly vacant since the university decided to cancel all in-person classes in March following the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This place has been vacant for months,” Ahmad Fathony, a keeper at an all-male dormitory in Kukusan area, told CNA. “I only come here twice a day, in the morning to turn off the lights and in the afternoon to turn the lights back on.”

Before the pandemic, the sub-district of Kukusan in the Jakarta suburb of Depok was buzzing with students who frequented its many restaurants, shops, mini marts and cafes.