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Jakarta Post

Govt calls for coordination with regional administrations to curb COVID-19 spread

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 17, 2020   /   05:39 am
Govt calls for coordination with regional administrations to curb COVID-19 spread An Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) officer sprays disinfectant liquid in at a high school in Central Jakarta on Monday in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Home Ministry and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) have urged the administrations of Indonesia's 34 provinces to coordinate closely with the central government in addressing the coronavirus crisis.

Home Minister Tito Karnavian said on Monday that every regional administration should devise its policies on COVID-19 in coordination with the central government’s rapid-response team tasked with planning mitigation efforts.

Formed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo last week, the team is led by BNPB head Doni Monardo.

"We have the social distancing strategy, but that doesn't mean people have to stop working. So we give the authority to the regional administrations to [implement] the policy by allowing people to work from home and maximizing the use of communication networks," Tito said.

On Sunday, the President called on people to work, study and worship from home and limit movement between places to curb the spread of the coronavirus – an approach infectious disease experts call "social distancing" – but he asserted on Monday that imposing a lockdown was not on the horizon yet for Indonesia.

Tito went on to call on regional administrations to support micro, small and medium enterprises (UMKM) in their regions during the current situation in order to maintain national economic stability.

Meanwhile, Doni encouraged regional leaders to make use of alternative options as additional temporary health facilities in their respective regions.

"For example, hotels can be used as alternative temporary health facilities to avoid overcrowding of people treated in hospitals," he said.

He added that the central government sought to establish regional branches of the rapid-response team to ensure fast dissemination of information about the danger of the coronavirus disease down to the local level.

"Most people who think they are healthy enough are oblivious to the fact that they could be a virus carrier and could be a potential threat to others," he said.

Indonesia confirmed 17 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 134, five of which have ended deadly. (trn)