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Jakarta Post

Jokowi calls for ‘social distancing’ to stem virus spread

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, March 15, 2020   /   03:17 pm
Jokowi calls for ‘social distancing’ to stem virus spread President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo (right) answers reporters' questions at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Feb. 12. (Presidential Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on all Indonesians to practice what epidemiologists call social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“Under the current conditions, it’s time for us to work from home, study from home and worship at home,” Jokowi said at a press conference at Bogor Palace in West Java on Sunday. “It’s time for us to work together, to help each other, to unite and cooperate. We want this to be a community movement, so that the COVID-19 problem can be addressed to the fullest.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Indonesia has announced 117 confirmed COVID-19 cases, five of which have ended deadly. Regional heads in a number of areas – including Jakarta, Banten and West Java – have decided to temporarily close schools and public areas in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

Jokowi said he would leave the decision whether or not to declare a state of emergency up to the respective regional head.

“As a large country and an archipelago, the spread of COVID-19 varies from region to region,” he said.” Therefore, I ask all governors, regents and mayors to continue to monitor their respective regions and consult with medical experts and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency [BNPB] to determine the emergency level in their regions.”

He added that the government guaranteed it had enough stocks of staple goods to meet everyone’s needs.

“We have also prepared economic incentives, as has been announced by the Coordinating Economic Minister, so that the business world can carry on as usual,” he said.

Jokowi said that while Transportation Minister Budi Karya had tested positive for the virus, the rest of the Cabinet would continue to work hard to address the effects of the pandemic.

“I ask all the people of Indonesia to stay calm, not to panic, to stay productive and to be more alert, so that we can slow down and stop the spread of COVID-19,” he said. (kmt)