By Sapto Andika, Elba Damhuri
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has announced that Indonesia will not apply lockdown policy to combat the spread of potentially deadly Covid-19 virus. Indonesia's central government decided to introduce social distancing in easing and handling the coronavirus transmision in the country.
Jokowi believes that the most important thing in preventing the spread of the coronavirus today is reducing the mobility of the people from one place to another. He urged people not to gather or go to the crowd.
A member of the Expert Team for the Handling of the COVID-19, Professor Wiku Adisasmito, revealed the reason why the government had not imposed a lockdown. He said the lockdown policy would have implications for the economic, social, and security conditions in Indonesia.
"It is economically dangerous and therefore we have not entered into such situations and policies," said Wiku.
According to him, there are still many people in the country who depend on their daily wages to keep alive so that if the lockdown policy is implemented, it is feared that economic activity will become more difficult.
Most Indonesian labor force works in the informal sector where they working to fulfill their daily needs such buying staples or paying the bills.
Wiku explained there are so many people who work to rely on daily wages. "That is one of the concerns of the government, so that economic activity continues to run," he said.
Wiku asked for public to focus on implementing the government's call for social distancing or keeping a distance from social crowd. "Social distancing may not have to be linked to lockdown. Social distancing really makes social distance, that's what we have to do well," he said.
Lockdown, Too Extreme to Apply
Indonesian Government Spokesperson for Covid-19, Achmad Yurianto, said that the lockdown option to eradicate the spread of the coronavirus was too extreme. This is the basis for President Jokowi not to think of the lockdown policy.
He explained that lockdown not only covers the spread but the whole life is closed, such as the entry of food staples, business, and so on.
"It's simple, if there is a supply of drinking water from outside Jakarta, it cannot enter. LPG supply cannot enter because it is really closed. Therefore this is not the best choice, it is extreme," said the man who is familiarly called Yuri.
Many implications for Indonesian will take a place if lockdown is enforced. Those implications include the suffer of the middle to lower economic group because they depend on daily income. The economic activity cannot run well so that it can cause social problem.
Social distancing covers avoiding crowds, reducing being in public places, working from home, learning from home, and worshiping from home.
Yuri hopes that people in Indonesia are able to do social distancing well and he believes this method can successfully reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Social distancing is not the only choice. Indonesia also took a number of additional actions to prevent the spread of the corona outbreak in the country.
Jakarta suspends the free-visa policy, visa on arrival, and free diplomatic and service visas for one month. This policy applies to all foreign visitors from all countries, effective from March 20, 2020.
In addition, President Jokowi has ordered a rapid test with a large scale for early detection of patients who are likely to be exposed to the corona virus or COVID-19. This was successfully implemented in South Korea.
Indonesian Doctors Association's Suggestion
The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) has ordered the government to emphasize the application of social distancing in order to be able to run optimally. This is done as an alternative step if the government does not want to apply lockdown.
"This is a serious problem," IDI Covid-19 Task Force Chief Professor Zubairi Djoerban told, Monday (3/23).
He suggested translating social distancing into languages that were more easily understood by the public. This language for example 'cancel a picnic', 'cancel a meeting', 'cancel a social gathering', and do not have any meetings but just staying at home.
He called on the government and appealed to the media to not only release information related to corona but to change public behavior.
According to him, if this is done decisively it is actually the same as restricting community access. However, he said, tightening the movement was another term for lockdown.
"Actually it's the same but that's another term, small lockdown," he said.