The Jakarta Post
Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that China has placed large orders for Indonesian-made masks in an effort to stop the spread of a coronavirus within the country.
“All mask production has been ‘locked’ by China,” he said during a seminar on Monday, adding that as much as three months' worth of mask production had been ordered by the East Asian country.
The senior minister said that producers should stock up to meet domestic demand to make sure that Indonesians have access to masks.
The 2019-nCoV virus was first detected on Dec. 31 in Wuhan, China and spread to other countries earlier this year. The new strain of virus had killed 426, all but one in China, and had infected more than 20,000 globally as of Tuesday morning.
Airlangga said airlines and tourism were among the first sectors affected by the outbreak as people canceled their travel plans.
"The continuation of the Belt and Road Initiative is also awaiting the developments in China. I think that is one of the biggest effects," he told reporters.
Despite the adverse effects of the virus, Airlangga said that Indonesia should remain optimistic as the country had secured some investment commitments during the 2020 World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland last month.
The minister also said that the country would continue to expand its economic influence to the Asia-Pacific region with more comprehensive economic partnership agreements.
"Optimism is key during these uncertain times," he said, adding that Indonesia should strengthen its domestic markets, expand exports and find import substitutes to keep its economy buoyed.