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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Anies slams Health Ministry’s requirements for large-scale social restrictions

  • Ardila Syakriah
    Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, April 5, 2020   /   03:40 pm
COVID-19: Anies slams Health Ministry’s requirements for large-scale social restrictions Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan (center), accompanied by Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Nana Sudjana (left) and Kodam Jaya military commander Maj. Gen. Eko Margiyono, announces the extension of the COVID-19 state of emergency during a press briefing at City Hall on March 28. (Courtesy of/Jakarta provincial adminsitration)

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has heavily criticized the Health Ministry’s newly issued guidelines on large-scale social restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, saying they showed “no sense of urgency”.

“[It’s] as if we are proposing a project that needed a feasibility study,” Anies told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. “Can’t the ministry see that we are facing a rising death toll? Is it not enough?”

Earlier this week, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that in lieu of a regional or national lockdown, regions could implement large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in their fight against COVID-19. Such restrictions include the closing down of schools, offices and places of worship, as well as limitations on public transport.

According to Government Regulation No. 21 on PSBB, provinces and cities are required to obtain a permit from the health minister to impose the policy. As of Sunday, no region has yet to obtain such a permit.

According to a ministerial regulation issued by the Health Ministry on Friday, regional heads who want to enact a PSBB have to attach an epidemiology study to their requests, as well as data and maps showing the spread of the virus in their respective regions.

The request would then be discussed by a team appointed by the health minister, who would approve or deny the request in consultation with COVID-19 fast response team chief Doni Monardo, who also heads the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB). 

Anies said he had sent a PSBB request to Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto on Wednesday before the ministerial regulation was issued and would wait for an answer instead of sending a new letter.

In the letter, he wrote that the virus had spread to 253 of the city’s 267 districts and 86 medical workers had also been infected. He also wrote that while the official death toll in the capital was 85, 401 people had been buried using COVID-19 protocols. The request was being discussed by the Health Ministry's team on Sunday afternoon.

“We already detailed the facts about [COVID-19 in] Jakarta in the letter. We are waiting for an answer [from the minister],” he said. “It’s very strange that we have to [go through so much bureaucracy] during a crisis such as this.”

According to the government's official count, there are 2,092 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide as of Saturday, 1,028 of which are in Jakarta.