The Jakarta Post
Most Indonesians no longer want large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to be in force as the country takes gradual steps to reopen the economy, a survey conducted by Jakarta-based pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia has shown.
The survey, which was conducted from July 13 to 16 and polled 1,200 respondents from the country's 34 provinces, found that 60.6 percent of respondents said PSBB should be stopped to support the economy, a significant increase from the 43 percent who responded in the same way in a survey in May.
Only 34.7 percent of the July respondents said they wanted the government to maintain the restrictions – down from 50.6 percent in the May survey.
"Compared to previous findings, there was a significant decrease in groups that supported PSBB. Likewise, there was a significant increase in groups that wanted the government to stop PSBB," the pollster's executive director, Burhanuddin Muhtadi, said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
Burhanuddin added that the majority of respondents – of all genders, ages, religions, educational backgrounds, incomes, ethnicities, locations and political alignments – wanted PSBB to stop.
The survey also found that 47.9 percent of respondents wanted the government to prioritize economic issues over health. A sharp increase from 33.9 percent in May.
“The public concern over health and the economy seems more balanced. Compared to the previous survey, there was a significant increase in the share of the public that wanted the government to prioritize the economy,” he said.
Only 33.9 percent of respondents in July wanted the government to prioritize public health, a sharp decrease from the 60.7 percent in May.
"The public, in general, wants the economic recovery from the pandemic to be the government's top priority.”
Responding to the survey, pulmonologist Erlina Burhan of the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) COVID-19 task force said that although people no longer wanted restrictions, the number of cases was continuing to surge. She noted that Indonesia had surpassed China in officially recorded COVID-19 cases.
"We see that as we relax the restrictions, the number has yet to drop. China has a population of 1.6 billion. Our population is 270 million, but the number of our confirmed cases is higher. This means we still cannot control the spread," Erlina said.
She added that the government had to oversee public activities to ensure that health protocols were carried out properly on public transportation, in entertainment centers and in offices, among other places.
"Where there is a crowd, there is [the potential for] transmission of the virus. The community must be closely monitored. Don't leave them alone with a mere appeal,” she added.