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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: PKS pushes for lockdown as Jokowi demurs, again

  • Ivany Atina Arbi
    Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 24, 2020   /   08:22 pm
COVID-19: PKS pushes for lockdown as Jokowi demurs, again A police officer urges residents to leave a cafe in Surabaya, East Java, on Monday in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Antara/Didik Suhartono)

The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) has called on the government to implement a lockdown in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, even as President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo reiterated his opposition to such a policy.

"The party has called for a lockdown on various occasions, at least partially, in areas that are the most affected [by the outbreak]," PKS spokesperson Ahmad Fathul Bari said in a statement seen by The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He said that such a measure was regulated in the 2018 Health Quarantine Law, which specifically states that a lockdown "is an effort to ward off a disease that can potentially cause public health emergencies."

"It's clear that the current state of the coronavirus can already be categorized as 'a public health emergency', so this is the time to implement a lockdown in some of Indonesia's regions," Fathul said.

Read also: Jokowi must make case for lockdown as COVID-19 may spark social unrest: Report

The implementation of the lockdown should also be followed by the fulfillment of citizens’ basic needs, including medical and food needs, as stipulated in Article 8 of the law, he added.

"If [the Health Quarantine Law] is not carried out, the President is potentially violating the Constitution," he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jokowi once again said that his administration would not implement a nationwide lockdown and cautioned regional heads who sought to impose stricter movement restrictions in their respective regions.

“I have gathered data about countries that have imposed lockdowns and after analyzing them, I don’t think we should go that way,” he said on Tuesday.

The COVID-19 outbreak was labeled a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11. Indonesia, which announced its first two positive cases on March 2, declared COVID-19 to be "a non-natural national disaster" on March 14. The country has so far recorded 686 positive cases, with 55 deaths.

Twenty-four of the country's 34 provinces had reported COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday. Jakarta is the worst affected area with 424 cases and 31 deaths. It is followed by the neighboring provinces of Banten and West Java, with 65 and 60 cases respectively.