Indonesia President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has emphasized that he will not impose a lockdown although the number of COVID-10 cases in the country is rapidly increasing day by day.
Mr Jokowi has also admonished regional heads who try to compel stricter movement restrictions in their regions, such as closing down offices and stores.
“I have gathered data about countries that have imposed lockdowns and after analyzing them, I don’t think we should go that way,” Mr Jokowi said during a limited meeting at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday (24 March).
He explained that Indonesian people’s cultural characteristics and discipline were the two main reasons why the government has shelved a lockdown. Mr Jokowi added that the decision was also made after evaluating policies enacted by other countries during the pandemic.
Instead of imposing a lockdown, he asked the people of Indonesia to stay at home and maintain physical distance from each other to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He said, “The policy of physical distancing can halt the spread of the disease if people really comply with it.”
“If regional administrations want to [impose restrictions], they need to thoroughly assess the impact of such policy. They should analyze the number of businesses that would not be able to operate during the lockdown and give financial assistance to people who depend on informal economic activities,” he continued.
On the other hand, various parties including former Vice President Mr Yusuf Kalla as well as Senior Gerindra Politician and House of Representative (DPR) member Mr Fadli Zon have urged the Government to impose a lockdown in order to curb the spread of coronavirus in Indonesia.
Mr Fadli on Monday (23 March) posted a tweet on his Twitter saying, “So Mr @Jokowi, don’t waste time by postponing a lockdown because there will be more coronavirus death tolls.”
He also noted that he understands the pros and cons related to the implementation of the lockdown policy, especially in Jakarta – which is now referred to as the epicenter for the deadly coronavirus in Indonesia.
As of 25 March 2020, based on the data published on Jakarta Governor, the total number of COVID-19 infections in Indonesia reached 686, with 55 deaths and 30 recoveries.