The Jakarta Post
Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration to take the novel coronavirus more seriously by correcting their existing policies, saying that the government seemed have underestimated the virus at the beginning.
"The people will feel calm and not panic, like the government wants, if they believe that the government is taking the right, credible steps,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “The people will also feel calm if they are given the information they need, together with what the government expects of them.”
The former Democratic Party chairman said he was worried that the currently small number of detected COVID-19 cases in Indonesia would increase when other countries saw declines, adding that a late policy response could make Indonesia a "new epicenter" of the pandemic, which has now shifted to Europe from China.
He said some countries and cities had been put themselves under lockdown to save their people, in which the administrations prohibited people from leaving their homes and restricted activities in crowded places, such as restaurants and malls.
“Some people may be uncomfortable by this policy, which also has risks, including economic losses, but such policies and actions must be taken. Public health and safety should be prioritized above all else,” he said
SBY also warned that the global economic turmoil caused by the pandemic was also serious, especially a series of trading halts as stock markets swung, as well as oil prices and exchange rates plummeting in the past week.
“This has reminded me of the 2008 [economic crisis],”
He went on to say that at the time, policy responses carried out collectively by the world, both monetary and fiscal, were unable to necessarily calm the market, as it required each country to come up with national policies and actions.
"Indonesia should not be late in carrying out policy responses and concrete actions. Don't be ‘too little and too late.’ Save our economy, save the people."
As of Wednesday morning, Indonesia has reported 172 confirmed cases of COVID-19.