Monday 2nd March marked the announcement of the first confirmed coronavirus case in Indonesia, following a couple of months with no news of the outbreak.
Health authorities across the country have now conducted 2,863 tests in which has resulted in 790 cases, 58 deaths, and 31 people recovered as of 25th March.
This pandemic is considered a non-natural disaster, as per Disaster Management Law No. 24 of 2007. The Indonesian government has not declared a National Emergency, but it has reached the status of Disaster of Special Circumstances as declared on 28th January 2020, which is still in effect as of publication. Meanwhile, 19 provinces and 56 regencies have also declared states of either disaster, emergency response, or emergency preparedness.
A National Task Force, led by the Head of the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB), Doni Monardo, has been created under the Presidential Decree No. 7 of 2020 – which was subsequently amended through Presidential Decree No. 9 of 2020. The aim is to ensure the collaboration of various ministries and agencies from the central and sub-national levels of government through to the ministries, agencies, the national police and military, private sector, social institutions, and universities in fighting the further spread of the virus.
Aside from the Task Force, President Joko Widodo has urged the public to work, study, and conduct religious practices from home as of 15th March. He added that large crowds, activities such as exercising in public areas, and social gatherings should be avoided. The president continues to encourage the public to be disciplined in practising physical distancing, or social distancing, as most countries are now implementing. The measure is necessary since the country is not under a national lockdown, it’s been deemed unsuitable for Indonesia.
What else has the government done so far?
The Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim, issued a Circular Note for schools and other educational institutions to temporarily close and encourage studying at home. To conduct this, he recommended the following online learning systems for students:
- Rumah Belajar
- Google G Suite for Education
- Kelas Pintar
- Microsoft Office 365
- Quipper School:
The Minister of Health, Terawan Agus Purwanto, issued a Circular Note with guidance on how to prevent the virus.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Tito Karnavian, issued the Ministerial Regulation No. 20/2020 on the acceleration of the COVID-19 response for local governments. Local governments were asked to form a task force at their respective levels of government to speed up the COVID-19 response with local funding.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, issued a number of travel measures and advised all Indonesian citizens to restrict non-essential, outbound travel. Short-stay visits, visa on arrival, and diplomatic or service visa-free facilities for all countries were suspended for a period of one month. From then, all foreigners who wished to visit Indonesia need obtain a visa from the Indonesian embassy, along with explaining their reason for visiting. Upon submission, applicants also have to provide a health certificate issued by relevant health authority from the country where they apply.
The National Task Force also announced that 500,000 rapid test kits would be procured. With new rapid tests, the number of confirmed cases was expected to dramatically escalate in the coming days.
President Joko Widodo announced that the government had purchased two million avigan doses and three million doses of chloroquine after countries like China, South Korea, and Japan had used these medicines with tentative reports of success.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani, said that the annual national budget had been re-allocated, with Rp118.3trillion for virus-related spending. This is followed by a Circular Letter of no. 6/MK.02/2020 on refocusing activities and funding allocation for the COVID-19 response. Economic policies to ensure the availability of basic necessities and provisions of incentives were also implied.
The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, also launched the Pre-Employment Card to assist people who are at least 18 years old in gaining additional skills in industries that are heavily affected by COVID-19. The assistance is designed to reach two million recipients for a training fee of Rp7million.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights stated that considering the 270,000 or so prisoners throughout the country, declared no visits to be allowed between 18-31st March. Furthermore, the Indonesian Red Cross started to spray disinfectant in correctional institutions.
At least 100,000 units of personal protective equipment were dispatched to prioritised areas in Java and Bali.
Wisma Atlet, or Athlete Complex in Kemayoran, North Jakarta was converted into an emergency hospital to accommodate up to 3,000 patients. This is just one of the many additional hospitals set up to facilitate COVID-19 patients. The initial 132 referral hospitals established by the government, more than 200 hospitals of the National Armed Military, national police, and state-owned hospitals make up the rest.
For the most updated information on the number of cases, deaths, and recovered patients, please go to https://www.covid19.go.id/
To check on international travel restrictions – remembering that some countries’ guidance is not recorded – please visit https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/international-travel-document-news/1580226297.htm.
Updates and other requirements and measures can be checked at https://www.iata.org/en/programs/safety/health/diseases/government-measures-related-to-coronavirus/