Netizens outraged as members of Bali’s regional council get tested for COVID-19

Illustration of a medical test. Photo: Ministry of Health
Illustration of a medical test. Photo: Ministry of Health

Dozens of members of Bali’s Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) have taken it upon themselves to represent the people and undergo rapid testing for the novel coronavirus, sparking sarcastic comments and criticism from local residents across social media platforms. 

According to reports, at least 39 DPRD Bali members participated in mass testing in Denpasar, which took place earlier today. 

Dewa Made Indra, regional secretary of the Bali administration, yesterday said that rapid test kits were to be prioritized for “at-risk groups” such as the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, persons under monitoring and patients under observation for the viral disease, as well as officers conducting screening at ports of entries. 

Are these council members at risk, then? DPRD Bali Secretary, Gede Suralaga, told Kumparan that early detection is important because members of the council are also on the frontlines in monitoring and other measures against COVID-19. 

“[Members of the council] are also facing [potential threat of infection], as they often go to the field to monitor the implementation of measures on COVID-19 in Bali, therefore [we conduct] early detection with these rapid tests,” Suralaga was quoted as saying.

It is not immediately clear how these council members have been on the frontlines, as civil servants have been instructed to work from home in recent weeks. With the social and physical distancing advisory in place, it seems almost reckless if these representatives have been out and about, setting bad examples in the fight against COVID-19 for the general public.

All of the 39 DPRD Bali members have tested negative, Suralaga added. Praise be.

 

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Photos of these DPRD members undergoing the rapid tests have, perhaps unsurprisingly, made its rounds across social media.

“Wah… members of DPRD are considered [at] high-risk? I wonder if my friends who are working in clinics, Puskesmas [Community Health Clinic] and hospitals who are exposed to patients have undergone rapid tests?” 

“Cool, silent operation with no reports, and testing suddenly! Awesome!”

“Wait, why them and not the people? Oh right they represent the people, so everything will go through their representation.” 

“Respectable members of the council, isn’t this more necessary for those on the frontlines? Take an example from other provinces who have donated a part of their salaries [which] I feel truly reflect [the spirit of] representing the people.”

Bali is now in a state of emergency after nine additional positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed yesterday. This includes three cases of local transmissions, which prompted local officials to strengthen measures and further urge members of the public to stay at home as much as possible. 

As of yesterday afternoon, Bali confirmed 19 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, including two deaths of foreign nationals and two recoveries. 

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