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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 travel ban should be 'wake-up call' for Indonesia: Lawmakers

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, September 10, 2020   /   09:13 am
COVID-19 travel ban should be 'wake-up call' for Indonesia: Lawmakers Cleaning House: Firefighters spray disinfectant to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at the House of Representatives in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Sunday, ahead of a joint session of the legislature and a state address by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Aug. 14 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

House of Representatives members are calling for an immediate evaluation of the government’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts following a travel ban imposed against Indonesia by 59 countries over coronavirus concerns.

United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker Syaifullah Tamliha argued that such a ban could jeopardize the country’s standing in the international community, as it would create a stigma against Indonesia and negatively impact the economy.

“The world may perceive us as undisciplined when it comes to implementing health protocols established by the World Health Organization and our own Health Ministry,” he said in written statement on Wednesday, adding that a ban could harm international trade and the country’s stock market.

Syaifullah urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the House leaders to consider postponing this year’s regional elections, the voting day for which is slated for Dec. 9. He said the major political event would only exacerbate the current crisis.

“The elections may trigger a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.”

Read also: Malaysia bars entry of Indonesian citizens, citing COVID-19 concerns

Jazuli Juwaini of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) echoed Syaifullah, saying the travel ban should serve as a wake-up call for the government to be more focused on saving citizens’ lives.

“We need to respond to [the travel ban] by protecting [citizens] and curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” said Jazuli.

Golkar Party lawmaker Christina Aryani said other countries also had a right to protect their own citizens’ lives, particularly from nations that had recorded a high number of COVID-19 cases.

“It should wake us up to the fact that the number of [COVID-19 cases] in Indonesia is still high, with over 200,000 cases. It’s not a laughing matter,” she said.

Jokowi had vowed that the government would prioritize COVID-19 mitigation, claiming that public health was key to economic recovery.

Indonesia surpassed 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, after consistently detecting record numbers of new infections in the past several weeks.

According to government data on Wednesday, the country's overall tally is 203,342 after recording 3,307 new cases. As many as 8,336 people have died of the disease, while 145,200 have recovered.