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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Indonesian students overseas urge govt to do more to flatten the curve

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 16, 2020   /   11:36 am
COVID-19: Indonesian students overseas urge govt to do more to flatten the curve Students and their parents move their belongings from their dormitories at San Diego State University in San Diego, California, on March 18, 2020. (AFP/Sandy Huffaker)

The Overseas Indonesian Students Association Alliance (PPI-Dunia) has urged the government to ramp up its measures against COVID-19 as it has seen no significant improvements being made in handling the crisis.

The student association wrote an open letter to the government containing 17 points of actions it recommended the government pursue in various sectors, ranging from the economy and health to citizen protection. Fifty-seven PPI-Dunia branches spread across three regions – Asia-Oceania, America-Europe and the Middle East-Africa – reached a consensus over the letter.

Among the recommendations the PPI-Dunia calls for is for the Health Ministry to improve the treatment of persons under surveillance (ODP) and patients under observation (PDP), increase incentives for medical workers and launch wide-scale polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

The alliance also suggested that the government, local administrations, state-owned enterprises and academics mobilize various industries to produce personal protective equipment. Many medical workers across the country are still reporting a scarcity of such equipment, which prevents them from properly treating all COVID-19 patients.

The students also urged all relevant parties to give support to local researchers as they cooperate with their international counterparts in developing a vaccine for the coronavirus disease.

Read also: Indonesian students overseas call for moral support amid COVID-19 crisis

“The biggest challenge [now] is to make the policy a reality. Therefore, good coordination [is required] among government institutions, stakeholders and other relevant parties,” said Muhammad Iksan Kiat, the PPI-Dunia head of research and action who is now pursuing his master’s degree in oil and gas economics at Gubkin Russian State University in Russia.

“The government should be able to perform continuous and comprehensive monitoring from the highest level to the lowest.”

PPI-Dunia chairman Fadlan Muzaki, a doctoral student in international politics at Fudan University in China, said the student association issued the open letter due to its moral obligation to contribute to the development of Indonesia.

Indonesian health authorities had recorded at least 5,136 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, with a daily jump ranging between 200 and 300 cases. The country has also seen at least 469 deaths because of the disease – the highest among Southeast Asian countries.

PPI-Dunia called on the government to, among other measures, reallocate funds from the state budget for crisis-handling, protect the Indonesian diaspora in countries affected by the pandemic and monitor public information to prevent the spread of false information.