Thursday, September 21, 2023

Health Protocol Not Enough: Ombudsman Demands More Preparation for 'New Normal'

Tara Marchelin
June 3, 2020 | 8:41 pm
An AEON mall security officer uses a bullhorn to warn visitors who don't comply with the health protocol on May 26. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
An AEON mall security officer uses a bullhorn to warn visitors who don't comply with the health protocol on May 26. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Jakarta. The Indonesian Ombudsman has suggested the government should carry out simulations of the "new normal" health protocol to make sure the public understands it before reopening the economy. 

"Reopening public places should be done gradually. The government should carry out the simulations so people know how to adapt to the new normal guidelines," Ombudsman member Alamsyah Saragih said on Wednesday.

The Ombudsman also suggested the government must stop the new normal protocol if the number of Covid-19 cases spikes again after it's implemented.

"The government should not hesitate to cancel the policy if it has the potential to cause great losses of life. The safety of the public is much more important," he said.


Ombudsman Chairman Amzulian Rifai said the central government must work closely with regional governments to ensure public safety before reopening shopping malls.

"Many traditional markets are still open despite the pandemic. People are aware of the health protocol but they don't obey the guidelines. This should be a lesson for the government," he said.

Ombudsman member Ninik Rahayu said the government should also consider postponing the new school year until the end of 2020.

She said the government must not rush to reopen schools even with the new normal health protocol in place.

"Schools should not be reopened just because the new academic year is approaching," she said.

Ninik pointed out many schools lack the infrastructure to follow the new normal public health guidelines.

For this reason, the government should only reopen schools in areas where there is a low risk of contracting Covid-19.

"If they must, the government may reopen schools for senior-year students only to do their national exam," Ninik said.  

More Complaints About Covid-19 Relief Package

As of May 29, the Ombudsman said it had received 1,004 complaints about the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis on its hotline. A total of 81.3 percent of the complaints were about the government's Covid-19 relief package. 

"The government needs to collect more accurate data on the beneficiaries. Confusion can lead to horizontal conflicts," Amzulian said.

He said the Ombudsman had found attempts at manipulating the data in Jambi and Papua.

"The perpetrators not only added unregistered beneficiaries but also replaced the names of the original beneficiaries with other names," he said.

"We've followed up 53.5 percent of the complaints by informing related ministries, government agencies and regional governments," Amzulian said.

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