A computer screen shows a cabinet meeting through video conferencing led by President Joko Widodo on Monday. (Handout photo courtesy of the Cabinet Sercretary)

Indonesian Cabinet Holds Meeting Through Video Conferencing as Minister Tests Positive for Coronavirus


MARCH 16, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo led his first cabinet meeting through video conferencing on Monday, two days after Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi tested positive for coronavirus.

The video conference involved 14 ministers to discuss ways to accelerate the economy in the face of coronavirus outbreak, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said on his Instagram account.

The president on Sunday held a press conference to urge citizens to avoid public gatherings and work from home when possible.

Schools across the country have been closed for two weeks starting on Monday.

Indonesia has so far reported at least 117 confirmed coronavirus cases with eight recoveries and five deaths.

Other Ministers Tested

Indonesian Cabinet members were told to get tested for coronavirus once Budi was confirmed of having Covid-19, the official name of the highly contagious disease.

Budi was seen attending the previous cabinet meeting at the State Palace on Wednesday.

Vice President Ma'ruf Amin was among the first to announce his coronavirus test results. 

"The Vice President was tested on Saturday and the result came back negative," the Vice Presidential office said in a statement on Monday.

"The Vice President will continue working from the office or his official residence depending on his duties. He will observe social distancing, including by holding meetings through video conferencing," it says.

The office also announced the 77-year-old Ma'ruf had canceled official trips and declined invitations to large gatherings for the next two weeks.

Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, who sat next to Budi in Wednesday's meeting, also took the test on Saturday and the result came back negative.

"He was tested at the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital and the result was negative," Yulia Jaya Nirmawati, a spokeswoman for the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Ministry, said.

SP/Ruht Semiono
Raker Komisi V dengan Menteri Perhubungan - 
Menteri Perhubungan Budi Karya Sumadi  mengikuti rapat kerja dengan Komisi V DPR di Kompleks Parlemen, Senayan, Jakarta, Senin (24/2/2020). Rapat kerja tersebut membahas penjelasan mengenai SILPA (Sisa Lebih Pembiayaan Anggaran) Tahun Anggaran 2019.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi. (B1 Photo/Ruht Semiono)

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who sat just one chair away from Budi during the meeting, also had the test and announced on Sunday she was doing fine. 

She began using video conferencing for meetings in her ministry at the weekend.

National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa denied rumors he had been self-isolating because of coronavirus.

Suharso got tested for the virus in Bali on Sunday and was told he did not have Covid-19.

"It's not true that the minister has been exposed to Covid-19, or that he's in self-imposed isolation. He is healthy and shows no signs of Covid-19 symptoms," Suharso's office said in a statement on Sunday.

Budi is being treated at the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital in Jakarta and reports said he was recovering.