The Jakarta Post
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) has declared that Indonesia’s emergency disaster status due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be extended until May but explained that the status did not mean an actual state of emergency.
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 itself classifies the situation as "where 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.
BNPB spokesperson Agus Wibowo said the state of disaster emergency period had begun Feb. 29 and would continue until May 29. The agency initially declared the emergency from Jan. 28 to Feb. 28 when the country was planning to pick up its citizens stuck in Wuhan, China after a lockdown was enforced.
“But because the scale of the outbreak got bigger and the President ordered the acceleration of the mitigation process, we extended the status again,” Agus said at a press conference on Tuesday broadcasted by the agency.
The emergency status was meant to speed up administrative matters, allowing the BNPB to use its and regional administrations' emergency funds for the pandemic mitigation efforts. The status would also allow regional heads to declare a state of emergency in their respective regions, which will also give regions access to their emergency funds.
Regional heads, particularly governors, mayors and regents, were asked by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to apply two statuses to their respective precinct, namely “emergency response” for regions with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and “emergency alert” for regions without. When the regions have declared their statuses, the BNPB emergency period will no longer apply to them.
As of Tuesday, neither the President nor any of the regional administrations have declared the COVID-19 outbreak a disaster emergency. The disaster emergency status itself would be separated into three categories, namely "emergency alert" for the pre-disaster period, "emergency response" for when the disaster has occurred and "emergency transition to recovery" for the post-disaster period.
The agency has called the pandemic a “disaster on a national scale” and that the government requested the National Military, National Police, companies and media to help with the mitigation. The government has been advising remote working for companies for social distancing.
In the press conference, government COVID-19 spokesperson Achmad Yurianto said there were currently 172 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, a jump from 134 on Monday. Nine have recovered from the disease while five have died. (mfp/glh)