The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged the East Java administration to decrease the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the region within two weeks.
On Thursday, Jokowi visited Surabaya and other cities in East Java, which has become the country’s COVID-19 epicenter after Jakarta. It is his first regional working visit as the government transitions into the so-called new normal period.
“I demand integrated and serious controls from all institutions in the region […] so we can handle and lower the number of confirmed cases […] within two weeks,” the President said during a visit to the East Java COVID-19 task force headquarters in the Grahadi building in Surabaya.
The President urged COVID-19 task forces at the provincial, regency and municipal levels to cooperate and coordinate to contain the spread of the disease in the region.
On Thursday, 247 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in East Java, bringing the total official case tally to 10,545. The province is now slightly behind Jakarta, which has recorded a total of 10,600 cases.
Jokowi said East Java was currently recording the highest daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases of any province in the nation. “However, what keeps us optimistic is the fact that the region also has a good recovery rate, at 31 percent.”
Jokowi expressed his disappointment about a report by the COVID-19 task force that 70 percent of residents were still disobeying health protocols, such as failing to wear masks in public.
Jokowi stressed the importance of controlling the disease’s transmission within Surabaya and its satellite regencies of Sidoarjo and Gresik.
Based on a Wednesday report by the East Java COVID-19 task force, Surabaya has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the province with 4,962 cases, followed by the regencies of Sidoarjo and Gresik with 1,287 and 534 cases, respectively.
“Surabaya can’t control this outbreak alone. Gresik, Sidoarjo and other cities should also be involved in one [unified] system of management because the mobility of people is not limited to Surabaya.”
The President suggested that governors and mayors refer to scientific data prior to making COVID-19 policies. “Ask for opinions from scientists, epidemiologists and other experts. Don’t make policies without consulting experts.”
Despite the province’s continuing struggle to control the virus, East Java ended large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Greater Surabaya on June 8 and began a “new normal” phase. (trn)