President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered his Cabinet to impose stricter rules on physical distancing coupled with "civil emergency policies" in an effort to contain the worsening COVID-19 outbreak.
“I ask that large-scale social restrictions and physical distancing policies be enforced more strictly and more effectively, which is why I said they should be coupled with civil emergency policies," Jokowi said in his introductory statement to a limited Cabinet meeting on Monday.
"I ask that clearer implementing regulations be prepared as guidelines for the provincial, regency and city administrations so they can work,” he continued, adding that regional quarantine policies could only be enacted by the central government.
Before the meeting, presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman also said that the government would impose extreme physical distancing measures by declaring a civil emergency.
“President Jokowi will set a new stage of large-scale social restrictions through [declaring] a civil emergency,” he wrote on his official Twitter account @fadjroeL.
However, the tweet was soon deleted, and replaced with a tweet stating that the large-scale social restrictions would be coupled with "health quarantine" policies instead.
"Only if things worsen significantly will a civil emergency [be declared]," he tweeted.
Presiden @jokowi menetapkan tahapan baru perang melawan Covid-19 yaitu: PEMBATASAN SOSIAL BERSKALA BESAR dengan KEKARANTINAAN KESEHATAN. Hanya jika keadaan sangat memburuk dapat menuju Darurat Sipil ~ #Jubir #BungJubir @JubirPresidenRI #GotongRoyongKemanusiaan pic.twitter.com/wAh61w4wCC— Fadjroel Rachman (@fadjroeL) March 30, 2020
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Doni Monardo, who is also Indonesia's COVID-19 task force chief, later confirmed after the Cabinet meeting that the policies announced by Jokowi on Monday referred to three existing pieces of legislation.
They are the 2007 Disaster Management Law and the 2018 Health Quarantine Law -- which stipulates large-scale social restrictions and regional quarantines -- and Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No.23/1959 on a state of emergency, which particularly regulates civil emergencies.
Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman said that the civil emergency policies were only anticipatory measures so as "to prepare for if the situation gets significantly worse."
Editor's note: This article has been updated to confirm that the government is using Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No.23/1959 on a State of Emergency, also known as the civil emergency law, if the situation concerning the pandemic significantly deteriorates.