Indonesia’s health minister ponders whether being godless commies has led to China’s COVID-19 suffering

Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin. Photo: Ministry of Health
Indonesia’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin. Photo: Ministry of Health

We have a new entry in the vault of Unscientific Ramblings by an Indonesian Health Minister, and it’s a doozy.

First of all, it must be said that Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has done a stand up job navigating Indonesia through the COVID-19 pandemic since taking over from his highly controversial predecessor, Terawan Agus Putranto. His achievements are all the more impressive considering the former banker does not hold a medical degree.

Yet even the best of us are prone to the occasional slip up. 

During a briefing about COVID-19 last week, Budi spoke about how new sub-variants of the virus have not led to any significant rise in cases in Indonesia.

“Praise God, our citizens’ immunity is strong; a combination of vaccinations and infections,” he said.

The minister then compared Indonesia’s situation with that of China, which is being ravaged by new infections after the country came out of its extreme and lengthy lockdown measures.

“When they (China) have an outbreak, they really feel it. Compared with Indonesia, we’re lucky [that case spikes have been hampered by] natural infections,” Budi said.

“I don’t know why they lack [immunity] in China. Maybe because they’re communists. So they don’t believe that immunity can be given by God Almighty, too.”

It’s not the first time an Indonesian health minister suggested that divine will is essential in combating COVID-19.

Before Indonesia registered any COVID-19 cases, former Health Minister Terawan infamously said that prayers were keeping the country safe from the coronavirus, playing down the necessity for masks.

Terawan’s statement was on brand with Indonesia’s initial poor response to COVID-19, which led to his eventual dismissal from the job. The former military doctor was also barred from medical practice over the serious ethical misconduct of developing and promoting a controversial homegrown COVID-19 vaccine.

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