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Jakarta Post

BNPB should declare actual state of emergency for COVID-19: observer

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 18, 2020   /   04:25 pm
BNPB should declare actual state of emergency for COVID-19: observer This handout photograph taken and released on January 29 by the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) shows an official posing with a protective face mask in Jakarta, where a shipment of some 10,000 masks will be sent to Indonesians living in China following the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. (Handout / BNPB / AFP/-)

Following the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) disclosure that it had declared a "particular state of disaster emergency" in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, a constitutional expert has said that more decisive action is needed.

Andalas University constitutional expert Feri Amsari said he hoped the government and regional administrations could soon declare actual disaster emergency status as the current status used by the BNPB did not provide much clarity on how the government and citizens should act.

“[Declaring disaster emergency status] is important in two ways,” Feri told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

“It would help citizens become aware of what they are facing and they can comply with the measures taken and announced by the government. So, the public will take this matter seriously,” he said. “It would also allow the government to act quickly and use the available state facilities and equipment to anticipate the situation. Including anticipating economic and security conditions.”

The BNPD declared on Jan. 28 the COVID-19 outbreak to be a "particular state of disaster emergency" as regulated by Presidential Regulation No. 17/2018 instead of declaring a disaster emergency, as regulated under the Disaster Mitigation Law.

The status classifies the situation as “when the status of a disaster emergency has not been established or the status of a disaster emergency has expired and/or is not extended, but actions are still needed to reduce the disaster's risk and wider impact", as quoted from the agency's statement.

Ace Hasan Syadzily, deputy chairman of Commission VIII of the House of Representatives overseeing disasters, lauded the BNPB’s move, saying that the agency had really geared up to mitigate the effect of the emergency by assigning the status.

However, he said that the BNPB should be more transparent when assigning the status of disaster emergency in the future to prevent excessive public anxiety.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Indonesia had reported 227 confirmed cases of COVID-19.(mfp/glh)