The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called for vigilance and caution amid plans to ease large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in several regions after the central government began to relax the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) ban.
“Easing of the PSBB measures should be done carefully and unhurriedly. Everything should be based on data and implementation in the field, so the decision is really a correct decision,” Jokowi said at the introduction of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Citing economic considerations, the Transportation Ministry last week allowed public transportation to resume operations by opening all air, land and sea transportation services, a move that drew strong criticism from experts.
Although the new policy applies to certain individuals like state officials and medical workers and carries certain requirements, it has compounded the nationwide ban on all domestic travel to and from the so-called COVID-19 red zones.
Experts have expressed concern about the government’s decision, saying the policy could result in a spike in COVID-19 cases, despite the government's claim that Indonesia has flattened the curve.
The President acknowledged that the implementation of PSBB measures had delivered varied results with different levels of effectiveness, with some regions seeing a consistent decrease in cases and other having not.
“We want [to see] a detailed evaluation of the provinces and regencies or cities, both those implementing PSBB measures and those not, regarding data on the trend of new positive cases in the regions,” Jokowi added.
He also acknowledged the success of regions that had not imposed the PSBB measures but had implemented physical distancing policies and applied strict health protocols, and considered it necessary to have a cross-examination.
“Therefore, there should be a comparison of PSBB and non-PSBB regions as there are indeed innovations in the field by applying a policy model of limiting community activities adjusted with the context of each region,” he said.
Of the top 10 provinces with the most positive cases, only three have imposed PSBB measures, namely Jakarta, West Java and West Sumatra, Jokowi said. So far, four provinces and 72 regencies and cities have imposed PSBB measures.
Jokowi said that data from the COVID-19 task force showed that 70 percent of positive cases and 82 percent of deaths had occurred in Java, where he wanted stronger supervision.
“I have requested the task force to ensure effective control in the five provinces of Java, especially in the next two weeks [...] before Idul Fitri,” he said.