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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Lockdown is central government's authority, Home Minister says

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 18, 2020   /   03:34 pm
COVID-19: Lockdown is central government's authority, Home Minister says Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (center) and Home Minister Tito Karnavian (right) at a press conference regarding COVID-19 at Jakarta City Hall on Tuesday. (JP/Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman)

The authority to invoke a citywide lockdown to curb the spread COVID-19 belongs to the central government and not provincial administrations, Home Minister Tito Karnavian said on Tuesday at a press conference at Jakarta City Hall.

Tito said the authority was based on the 2018 Health Quarantine, which stated that the central government was responsible for putting in place regional quarantines or lockdowns. 

"According to the Law No. 6/2018 on health quarantine, regional and social restrictions at scale are the central government's authority because they are related to the economy," Tito said at a press briefing alongside Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan. "The President has said that regional leaders should consult with the central government and the task force."

He added that the decision to apply a regional quarantine would be based on the development of an epidemic and the effectiveness of the policy, as well as economic, social, cultural and security considerations.

Over the past few days, Anies has instituted a number of measures to encourage social distancing, including  restrictions on public transportation. The administration has limited the number of passengers allowed on city-owned Transjakarta buses, the MRT and the LRT, and Anies has said that people should not leave or enter Jakarta. 

A number of scientists and activists have called for a lockdown in order to stem the spread of the virus, but President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Monday that the government was “not leaning toward issuing a lockdown policy”. Jokowi has instead encouraged all Indonesians to practice social distancing and “work from home, study from home, and worship at home”. 

As of Tuesday, Indonesia had announced 172 confirmed COVID-19 cases resulting in five deaths nationwide, while the capital had recorded 47 cases and one death as of Monday. (dfr)