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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: ASEAN Secretariat staff starts online petition to demand remote work

  • Nina A. Loasana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, March 20, 2020   /   08:51 pm
COVID-19: ASEAN Secretariat staff starts online petition to demand remote work  The newly inaugurated ASEAN Secretariat building in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta on Aug. 8, 2019. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Staff members at the ASEAN Secretariat building in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta have started an online petition demanding the management to allow them to work remotely from home amid rising concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic in the capital city.

The petition was apparently posted on by one of the employees in the ASEAN Secretariat named Phuong Le and had been signed by 100 people by Friday, reaching its goal.

"The alarming spike in the spread of the virus in Jakarta threatens not only our health and safety but also those of our families and loved ones. We commute by the public transport system, which potentially exposes us to the virus. The visitors who enter the ASEAN Secretariat premises also create further risks to our health," Phuong wrote in the page on the website referring to the spike of the death toll and the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Phuong wrote in the online petition that while the staff appreciated the management's decision to make a two-day alternating office/home rotation, they would feel safer working remotely from their residences over the next two weeks.

She said they would also prefer to work from their respective countries considering many of them are not fluent in Bahasa Indonesia.

"We would therefore like to suggest the alternative option of allowing non-local staff to work from their home countries where they could access timely medical care in their respective countries if required," she said in the petition.

The ASEAN Secretariat's official statement said the secretariat gave high priority to the safety of its staff.

The ASEAN Secretariat declined to comment on the online petition but stressed that the organization had taken preventive measures “to minimize health risks for staff during missions, as well as at the Secretariat premises. In this, ASEC is primarily guided by the health and travel advice of the World Health Organization and the host country Indonesia," as written in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

"Work from home arrangements have been implemented on a rotational basis. Further steps may be taken commensurate to the development of the situation,” it added.

Indonesia's death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 32 as of Friday afternoon with 369 people testing positive with the fast-spreading respiratory illness, with Jakarta as the hardest-hit province. (nal)