The Jakarta Post
The West Java administration’s ongoing efforts to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks have largely been well received by the public, according to a recent report by big data consulting firm Drone Emprit.
The study analyzed overall public sentiment toward West Java’s handling of the health emergency as reflected in more than 150,000 tweets, 2,000 Facebook posts, 6,000 Instagram posts, 1,400 YouTube posts and 34,000 online news articles published between March 9 and April 9.
The report found that netizens mostly viewed the West Java provincial administration as more trustworthy than the central government in its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The analysis also showed increased public engagement and positive sentiment in regard to a number of key topics related to West Java’s response to the health emergency, such as rapid tests in the province, restriction of the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) and pay cuts for administration officials including the governor, deputy governor and civil servants.
TRUST— Ismail Fahmi (@ismailfahmi) April 11, 2020
Kepercayaan kepada pemda jabar naik melalui dibukanya peta sebaran COVID19 di Jabar, diadakannya Rapid Test, dan informasi yang lebih transparan soal sebaran kasus oleh @ridwankamil. pic.twitter.com/NFy6RPMSrM
Governor Ridwan Kamil’s verbal delivery also factored into the equation, as the report found a correlation between his public persona and increased public support.
“Ridwan Kamil, who communicates warnings in a relaxed tone without sacrificing the substance of his core messages, serves as one of the drivers of public support for the policies issued by the West Java administration,” the report stated.
Ridwan’s criticism of the central government’s bureaucratic red tape amid the pandemic has also contributed to a higher level of public affinity for his administration, the study suggested.
The report calls on the administration to educate and prepare its citizens to anticipate the worst-case scenario of the current health crisis.
“Administrative and public preparations may be bolstered by involving more parties, such as mass organizations, NGOs, academics and public figures,” the report said.
As of Tuesday, West Java was the second most affected province in the country after Jakarta with 530 confirmed cases and 52 deaths. The administration’s Pikobar data showed that the highest number of positive cases in the province was recorded in Bandung city with 67 cases.
The administration is currently reviewing requests for large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to be imposed in Greater Bandung that will be submitted to the Health Ministry following the approval of such measures in several areas of the province that border Jakarta.