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Jakarta Post

Partial lockdown was the right thing to do, Jokowi says

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 17, 2020   /   04:51 pm
Partial lockdown was the right thing to do, Jokowi says President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (second right) is accompanied by State Secretary Pratikno (third right) as he addresses members of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) on Aug. 27, 2018. (Antara/Hafidz Mubarak)

The economy could have contracted further if the country’s had gone into full quarantine to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has said.

He added that the government had made the right decision in implementing only a partial lockdown.

"I can't imagine if we had imposed a full lockdown, maybe [economic growth] could have reached minus 17 [percent]," Jokowi said during a meeting with governors at the Bogor Palace in West Java on Wednesday.

A recording of his speech was uploaded onto the Presidential Secretariat's official YouTube channel on Thursday.

He pointed to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) projection that said the global economy would shrink by 2.5 percent and the World Bank's prediction of a 5 percent contraction.

Meanwhile, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimated the global economy to fall by 6 to 7.6 percent this year.

Read also: World Bank warns of 2% contraction in Indonesia’s economy this year

Jokowi compared the country's economy condition to that of other countries, such as the United States and France, whose economies contracted by 9.7 and 17.2 percent, respectively.

"[The economy] is in the minus territory in every country; there is no growth in any country at all. However, the IMF estimated that the economy of Indonesia, China and India could still grow."

The President called the country "very lucky" for not experiencing a double-digit economic contraction, as he predicted the economy to fall 4.3 percent in the second quarter from the 2.97 growth seen in the first quarter.

Indonesia has been implementing a partial lockdown, locally known as large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), only in several regions. However, most have eased or lifted their restrictions even though they continue to experience an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases.

According to the World Health Organization, the daily average of new cases increased to 1,716 last week from 1,473 new cases per day in the previous week.

Jokowi further compared Indonesia to other countries, including the US and Brazil, in terms of their infection rates, which were "[higher] than Indonesia’s."

He claimed Indonesia was not among the top 10 countries with the highest number of cases, which was laudable considering that the country had one of the highest populations in the world.

"It means we can still control the situation. We must not lose control."

Read also: Anies hints at 'pulling brake' as Jakarta cases continue to surge

Jokowi cited the national COVID-19 task force, which highlighted five provinces for their achievement in containing the pandemic, namely Yogyakarta, Bangka Belitung, Aceh, West Sumatra and Gorontalo.

Conversely, Yogyakarta saw its highest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases in the past week.

The President asked all regional heads to work harder to manage the health crisis and find a balance between the economy and public health. He urged them to accelerate spending, especially their capital expenditure, as the third quarter of this year would determine the turning point of the country's economic recovery.

Jokowi said he would soon release a presidential instruction requiring each province to issue a regulation stipulating sanctions for health protocol violations.