Indonesia Corona Virus Update #5 March 30, 2020
- Number of reported cases: 1414 (as of March 30) 122 Deaths 75 Recoveries
Concerns are rising that Indonesia will be presenting a large increase in COV-19 cases in the months ahead with a healthcare system that currently lacks sufficient facilities and equipment. However, President Jokowi has turned to Indonesia’s military (not just the Health Ministry) to better coordinate its response. A brigadier general was appointed to convert four of 10 towers at the former athlete’s village for the 2018 Asian Games for the treatment of up to 3,000 patients and will continue to be expanded to handle up to 24,000 patients. Indonesia’s COV-19 task force is readying stadiums as treatment or testing sites as well as ramping up private sector production. Garment companies are beginning to produce large quantities of masks, gloves, hospital gowns and other equipment. Exports of masks have now been curtailed. As Indonesia already grows the feed-stock trees for quinine its pharmaceutical companies should eventually be able to produce needed supplies of hydroxychloroquine sulfate that has now been authorized as a COV-19 treatment by several countries (including the US). Ventilators remain an issue.
- No Lockdown/Quarantine Yet: President Jokowi has overruled regions, such as Jakarta, that have attempted to impose severe travel restrictions. However, on Monday, 3/30, two Coordinating Ministers, Luhut Pandjaitan (Maritime and Investment) and M. Mahfud (Politics and Security) appeared ready with proposals/regulations to allow local regions to impose quarantines. The President addressed the nation Monday insisting “We will have large-scale social distancing and physical distancing that will be implemented more firmly, with more discipline, so it can be more effective. We might also need to declare a civil emergency.”
- Repatriation: The British and American embassies in Jakarta have advised their citizens to depart from Indonesia and do so “as soon as practicable”, citing the host’s capacity in dealing with the ever growing Covid-19 cases and limited commercial flights from Indonesia. Germany has arranged special flights to evacuate its citizens from Bali.
The U.S. Embassy issued a statement on Thursday, March 26, ordering the departure of embassy employees’ family members under the age of 21 from Embassy Jakarta, the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, Consulate General Surabaya and Consulate Medan.
“The Department of State made this decision due to evidence of Covid-19 in Indonesia, current Indonesian medical capacity and current availability of flights out of Indonesia,” it said.
Anecdotally, AICC knows of private sector expats who are leaving.
- Fiscal Deficit to Widen: The government will likely move past its traditionally conservative budget deficit of less than 3% of GDP.
- Rupiah: 16,366 (as of March 23)
- Stock Index: JCI (main stock exchange index) rebounded slightly from last week’s low to close at 4,414
- More emergency shipments from China:A Garuda Indonesia flight arrived on Friday carrying 40 tons of health supplies from China. The supplies included personal protective equipment and rapid test kits and masks.
Financial Relief: The Financial Services Authority (OJK) will extend loan payment deadlines for micro, small and medium enterprises for up to one year to counter the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new relaxation would apply to business loans worth up to 10 billion rupiah (US$619,118). About 9 banks have also released relaxation or relief policies for debtors affected by the corona pandemic.
COV-19 Gallery: View images of how Indonesia is coping at our website.
(sources: Indonesia news media, Bali Discovery Update , Reformasi Weekly)
Our best to all of you in these trying times. Knowing that many Indonesians experience respiratory weaknesses (asthma) due to burning trash, cigarettes, dust/dampness, I am very concerned that COV-19 may hit quite hard.