President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo addresses the nation about the Covid-19 pandemic from Bogor Palace in West Java on Sunday. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Jokowi Urges Indonesians to Stay Home


MARCH 15, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Sunday urged people to work, study and worship at home for the near future to slow down the spread of Covid-19 disease.  

"To all the people of Indonesia, I hope all of you can remain calm and not panic, remain productive and be more vigilant so we can slow down and eventually stop the spread of Covid-19," Jokowi said. 


"In this condition, it's time for us to work from home, study from home, worship at home," he said. 

Indonesia has so far reported 117 confirmed cases of the pneumonia-like diseases with five fatalities, currently the second-highest fatality rate in the Southeast Asia region after the Philippines. Jokowi and the members of his cabinet were also taking the test for the virus after Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi tested positive for Covid-19. 

Many provinces and cities have earlier announced that they would close down schools for the next two weeks starting on Monday. Several ministries have asked some of their employees to work from home. 

"Employees of the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry, who use public transportation every day to get to the office or are over 50 years of age, can work from their homes," the ministry said in a statement. 

The Ministry of National Development Planning also asked their employees or work from home from Monday for the next two weeks to minimize employee physical interaction.

But, most businesses in Jakarta have yet or were unable, to heed to the President's call. They still asked employees to come to the office on Monday, even after the city reduced public transit service in response to the coronavirus spread, causing passenger buildup in many essential bus and train stations around Jakarta. 

An amateur video below showed passengers have to queue in more than a hundred-meter line to board on TransJakarta buses in Ciledug, Banten, a suburb in the southwest of Jakarta on Monday.

Earlier, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan decided o reduce the transit service in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Jakarta mass rapid transit (MRT) is now operating with only a quarter of its standard carriage capacity and with 20 minutes headway time, from its original departure schedule of every 5 minutes and 10 minutes. 

TransJakarta buses cut the number of routes it serves to just 13 from 248 originally and depart every 20 minutes. Anies said the bus would operate only from 06.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m. for the next two weeks. 

Jakarta LRT light metro system, which initially departs every 10 minutes, now implements a 30-minute headway time and operates only from 06.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m.

Concerted Efforts

President Jokowi said he hopes the government and the people can work together to minimize the Covid-19 impact. Jokowi said it was up to each local government to declare the state of emergency in their region, as the pandemic's impact may vary from region to region. 

But the central government has formed the Task Force to Accelerate Covid-19 Handling led by Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo, the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), to coordinate the support for the regions. 

"This task force has worked effectively by synergizing national resources both at central and regional levels, involving the Indonesia Military, the National Police the private sector, social institutions, and universities," said Jokowi.

The government also continued to communicate with the World Health Organization (WHO) and consulted with public health experts in handling the spread of Covid-19 in Indonesia, he said. 

"This is the time to work together, help one another, and unite, work together, we want this to become a community movement so that the Covid-19 issue is handled optimally," President Jokowi said.