Indonesia ‘not thinking’ of lockdown, President Joko Widodo says

Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Photo: Twitter/@jokowi
Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Photo: Twitter/@jokowi

President Joko Widodo today said that lockdowns are not happening anytime soon in Indonesia, while reiterating that social distancing is the best available measure to prevent further COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

In a televised national address this afternoon, Jokowi asserted the central government’s control on decisions to be made on large-scale preventive measures against COVID-19.

“A policy on lockdowns on the national scale or the regional scale is the central government’s to make. Regional governments cannot make a decision [on lockdowns]. Up to now, we are not thinking of locking down,” Jokowi said.

Echoing his statement from yesterday’s national address, Jokowi urged citizens to work, study, and pray at home to reduce the number of people out in public areas, which could further spread the coronavirus. 

The president also called on the central and regional governments to continue operating public transportation as per usual — but with heightened hygiene measures — in order to prevent overcrowding in transit facilities as not everybody has the privilege to stay at home at this time.

Long queues and overcrowding in Jakarta’s public transportation facilities were reported this morning after the Jakarta Provincial Government yesterday abruptly decided to significantly reduce the operations capacity of TransJakarta and the MRT.

Indonesia has seen a huge surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past week, with 21 new cases confirmed in the latest official update yesterday, bringing the total number of domestic infections to 117. The new cases consist of 19 in Jakarta and two in Central Java, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry.

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