The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) has warned of the possibility that new COVID-19 clusters may emerge from demonstrations against the Job Creation Law that have been taking place in many parts of the country.
“I’m afraid there will be more patients,” said IDI COVID-19 task force head Zubairi Djoerban on Thursday, as quoted by antaranews.com.
Simlarly, Aditya M Biomed, the head of the IDI’s Bandarlampung chapter, said that even without demonstrations, the number of new COVID-19 infections had been overwhelming. He said the IDI had recorded 130 doctors who had fallen victim to the virus.
“Not to mention demonstrations that gather thousands of people,” he said, adding that protesters, the police and the military likely ignored health protocols during the protests.
Aditya highlighted the difficulties of tracing virus transmission resulting from the demonstrations.
Zubairi said the government should have anticipated such a situation to prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 transmission clusters.
He cited the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of the police in the United States, which ignited nationwide protests during COVID-19 pandemic.
The death of Floyd on May 25 led to antiracism protests and demonstrations against police brutality throughout the United States and around the world, with protesters calling for racial equality and police reform and gathering in spite of the pandemic.
Zubairi raised concerns that a similar situation was happening in Indonesia because of the passage of the Job Creation Law.
He was also concerned about the simultaneous elections, which he said could result in new COVID-19 transmission clusters if they weren’t prepared for properly.
“The next homework assignment is the regional elections. Hopefully, what has happened in the past makes us smarter,” Zubairi said.
He called on the government not to introduce policies that would trigger protests.
“If a policy could ignite demonstrations, it is better for it to be delayed,” he said.
The passage of the contentious jobs law on Monday ignited waves of protests throughout the country. In some areas, protesters clashed with the police.
Many argue that the new law, which the government claims is necessary to improve bureaucratic efficiency and to boost business and investment, will negatively impact the environment and labor conditions in the country.
Zubairi called on the public to avoid crowded events to cut chains of transmission.
On Wednesday, the Jakarta Police reported reactive rapid test results from 12 vocational high school students who intended to join the rally against the law, tempo.co reported.
According to the police, they will be isolated in Wisma Pademangan isolation center in Central Jakarta.
The Medan Police said they found three cases out of the 177 protesters who were tested. (iwa)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.