The Jakarta Post
As the country deals with heightened concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following news that a Cabinet member was infected, state officials have taken precautions to ensure the government remains functional amid the global public health emergency.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said during a press conference on Sunday that all members of his Cabinet had been tested for COVID-19 following news that Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi had tested positive for the virus. The President added that he would also get tested on the same day.
Such measures were deemed necessary by the government, Jokowi said, given that Budi had attended a Cabinet meeting led by the President on March 11 prior to testing positive for COVID-19.
That meeting gathered most of the Cabinet, including State Secretary Pratikno, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung and Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko, coordinating ministers Mahfud MD and Airlangga Hartarto, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir, Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar and Home Minister Tito Karnavian.
Attorney General ST Burhanuddin, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis were also present at the Cabinet meeting, as was North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi and acting Medan mayor Akhyar Nasution, among others.
As word of the virus’ spread to a government official arrived on social media, many began to worry that the state bureaucracy would face an even more significant setback should more Cabinet members get infected. Some officials have sought to quell any panic.
Finance Minister Sri debunked rumors that her health had deteriorated since the last Cabinet meeting, reassuring social media users that she was healthy and working from home.
“Some have asked about my health amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Alhamdulillah [thank God], I’m in good health and still working as Finance Minister in full capacity,” Sri wrote on her official Instagram page @smindrawati on Sunday, alongside photos and videos of her holding a video conference with ministry colleagues from the comfort of her own home.
She said that the Finance Ministry had agreed to issue a decree on the reallocation of the state budget to improve efforts to mitigate the pandemic, which would give the government a legal basis to transfer funds to local and regional mitigation efforts across the country.
United Development Party (PPP) secretary-general Asrul Sani issued a statement on Sunday debunking claims that National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa had been infected with the coronavirus disease.
“Suharso Monoarfa, who is currently attending an event held by the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) in Bali, has asked to be tested by a team of doctors from the Health Ministry's regional office following news that Pak Budi Karya Sumadi tested positive for the coronavirus,” Asrul said in the statement.
Suharso had been responding positively to the recent outpouring of sympathy and well wishes, Asrul said, but he insisted that the minister had not been put into isolation, as he had not been declared positive for the virus.
He remained in good health and had not exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19, he added, acknowledging that the minister had indeed sat next to Minister Budi during the March 11 Cabinet meeting.
SOE Ministry spokesperson Arya Sinulingga said that Minister Erick and his wife were declared healthy after being tested on Sunday.
“Rest assured that he is currently in good health,” Arya said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Public Works and Housing Ministry spokesperson Endra Atmawidjaja reassured the public that Minister Basuki Hadimuljono was not ill.
“It’s not true that he has been [quarantined]. He has been staying at his official residence and is currently in good health,” Endra said on Saturday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Basuki was previously seen sitting next to the Transportation Minister during an inspection of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project on March 4.
Senior security minister Mahfud MD was allowed to return home following the test on Sunday, according to ministry spokesperson Rizal Mustary.
“Minister Mahfud underwent a medical check-up at the RSPAD [Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital] in Jakarta earlier this morning and was then allowed to return home afterwards,” Rizal said in a statement.
Jokowi on Sunday deferred any queries regarding the health of the President and his Cabinet members to Health Minister Terawan Agus Purwanto, who had yet to announce any results as of Monday.
The government confirmed on Sunday afternoon that there were 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, including five that had resulted in deaths. Regional heads in a number of areas – including Jakarta, Banten and West Java – have moved to temporarily shutter schools and public facilities in an effort to contain the virus.