A $6bn high-speed railway project in Indonesia faces a delay of around two years due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Set to connect the capital city of Jakarta and the city of Bandung, the project is now expected to complete in 2023.

According to a Reuters report, the delay was attributed to the unavailability of adequate labour due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions.

A part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the high-speed railway project is being developed by a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian state companies.

Officials previously anticipated a delay of one year due to the pandemic.

However, Indonesian Deputy State-Owned Enterprises Minister Kartika Wirjoatmodjo said in an online seminar that the project will be completed at the end of 2022 or at the beginning of 2023.

Currently, 56% of the development is complete, the news agency further reported quoting the minister.

Once complete, this will be the first high-speed rail line in Indonesia. Plans to extend the line to Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city, is also under consideration.

As of 17 September, Indonesia has confirmed more than 232,000 Covid-19 cases. The death toll stands at 9,222.

The disease has infected around 29 million people worldwide and killed more than 941,000.

In a separate development, Malaysia recently unveiled plans to realign the $10.7bn East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

The ECRL is also being built under China’s Belt and Road initiative.

The realignment involves rerouting some portions of the line around the south of Kuala Lumpur.