The Jakarta Post
The national COVID-19 task force has added Aceh and Bali to its list of prioritized provinces with the regions seeing rising daily case tallies.
The two provinces were added to the eight provinces previously named top priorities in the government’s COVID-19 response, task force chief Doni Monardo said.
The initial eight provinces named were Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Papua.
“Now there are 10 provinces in total,” he announced during a virtual press conference after meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday, as reported by kompas.com.
As of Monday, Aceh had recorded 4,325 confirmed cases and 167 fatalities, while Bali logged 107 new cases on Monday to increase its overall tally to 8,639 cases and 263 fatalities, according to Health Ministry data.
Jokowi appointed Doni and Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan to supervise the implementation of COVID-19 measures in prioritized provinces.
Task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito previously said the President had set several goals for the aforementioned prioritized provinces, including a decline in the number of new cases recorded daily, an increase in recoveries as well as a decline in fatality rates.
“The President demanded these goals be met within the next two weeks,” he said last week.
Among the government’s many measures, it has kicked off Operasi Yustisi to monitor and discipline the public in regards to health protocol compliance in prioritized regions that are continuing to record spikes in COVID-19 cases.
Separately, epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia’s School of Public Health Pandu Riono urged the government to enforce stricter social restrictions in prioritized provinces.
“Stricter measures like those implemented in Jakarta are necessary to contain COVID-19 infections. At least, stricter measures need to be implemented in the prioritized provinces, which are mostly located in Java,” Pandu said on Monday, as quoted by Kompas.
Excluding Aceh, the prioritized provinces account for 75 percent of Indonesia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, which has caught the attention of Jokowi.
“Stricter PSBB [large-scale social restrictions], which were previously condemned, have proven to be effective in containing the spread of COVID-19. The situation in Jakarta is now seen as stagnant,” he added, citing that the city's COVID-19 daily reproduction number (Rt) had decreased from 1.14 to 1.10 after stricter PSBB measures were implemented.
He also advised the government not to ease restrictions too hastily in the hopes of spurring an economic recovery.
“If the pandemic is not handled well, the economy will not recover either,” (trn)