The Jakarta Post
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed all regional leaders to maintain a balance between public health and economic activities and not to rush in implementing the so-called "new normal" amid persistently rising COVID-19 cases.
He also urged regions not to start easing to keep the economy running without proper public health control.
“Don’t ease [the restrictions] without proper control. We don’t want a good economic situation but at the same time rising COVID-19 cases,” the President said in a video conference with Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo during a working visit to Semarang on Tuesday.
“What we want is to be able to control COVID-19 and an economic condition that does not disrupt people’s welfare.”
He acknowledged that it would not be an easy task to balance both the health and economic sectors amid the crisis, therefore he ordered all stakeholders to engage in better coordination.
Jokowi also urged all regional leaders to take insights from epidemiologists and pay attention to scientific data before implementing the new-normal policy. He said local leaders must not push to implement the approach if the experts suggested otherwise, adding that rising COVID-19 cases would indeed worsen the economy.
“Don’t start the new normal phase without the proper stages. We must use scientific data every time we make a policy,” he said.
Under the new-normal protocols, people will be allowed to carry out their activities in the public sphere while still following health protocols such as wearing a face mask and practicing physical distancing.
The government had previously been endorsing the new-normal procedure as part of efforts to spur the economy amid the current financial crisis that Indonesia and countries the world over are facing.
The central government and some regional administrations have started to ease the months-long social restrictions by, among other things, allowing offices, shopping centers and public transportation to resume normal operation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said countries could take steps to ease restrictions and transition toward a new normal, but they had to make sure first that COVID-19 transmission in their regions had been controlled.
Indonesia continues to record a significant rise in COVID-19 cases. The Health Ministry announced 1,293 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 56,385 with 2,876 fatalities. (vny)