Indonesia Corona Virus Update #4 March 23, 2020
- Number of reported cases: 579 (As of March 23) 49 Deaths 30 Recoveries 6 doctors who were treating COV-19 patients have died, including a 34 and 70 year old. Medical supplies are currently low and President Jokowi issued a Presidential Decree ordering all government departments to reallocate their budgets to mitigate COV-19 contagion. It also specifies measures to more efficiently produce and distribute medical supplies.
- New Task Force: President Jokowi created a Covid-19 Task Force headed by Lt Gen Doni Monardo, chair of the Disaster Relief Agency (BNPB). Monardo immediately went to work arranging the release of 500,000 rapid-test kits for use on a mass scale. Monardo is emphasizing public awareness and has launched a useful website.
- Medical Bonus: The government promised up to $900 in monthly bonuses for doctors, nurses and medical personnel in a move intended to lift the morale of those on the front line to treat Covid-19 patients. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the government has bought 105,000 sets of personal protective equipment and is sending them to regions most affected by the pandemic.
- Rate Cut: Bank Indonesia cut its prime rate to 4.5%, revising 2020 GDP growth predictions to between 4.2-4.6%.
- Rupiah: 16,608 (as of May 23) The highest the rupiah reached during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998 was 16,950. BI’s policy is to provide ample liquidity and prevent local Indonesians from irrationally buying dollars. BI’s Governor, Perry Warjiyo, believes the country’s foreign exchange reserves are adequate to meet dollar liquidity.
- Work/Travel Restrictions: Indonesia has implemented stricter social distancing and work from home policies: Although not a full “lockdown”, the government has banned large assemblies, including religious gatherings. The police are now criminalizing non-essential gatherings including: wedding receptions, conferences, concerts, sport activities, “hanging out” at coffee shops. Riders on public transport are tested for high temperature before boarding, required to sanitize hands, and sit far apart. But, reports indicate people are still not heeding the calls to stay at home either because they have no choice or have a fatalistic attitude. In Jakarta over 1500 offices have closed.
- Idul Fitri/Lebaran: The May exodus following the end of the Ramadan fasting month (“homecoming”) may be altered if the necessary.
- China aid: China sent its first emergency air shipment of masks, respirators, and rapid test kits.
- Loan Rules Relaxed: OJK (Financial Services Authority) has relaxed loan disbursement and repayment rules. Allowing flexibility for banks to reschedule loans and payment terms.
- Stock Index: JCI (main stock exchange index) fell to 3,985, lowest level since 2012. The Jakarta Stock Exchange halted trading for 30 minutes on Monday, 3/23, the 5th time this month a circuit breaker was invoked.
- Food import licenses removed: To counter soaring prices for brown onions and garlic, the need for import licenses has been temporarily suspended.
(sources: Indonesia news media, Bali Discovery Update , Reformasi Weekly)
Our best to all of you in these trying times. Myself and our staff our working remotely.