Passengers observe physical distancing inside a Jakarta MRT train on March 20. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Minister Encourages Indonesians to Install Covid-19 Surveillance App

BY :TARA MARCHELIN

APRIL 08, 2020

Jakarta. Communication and Information Technology Minister Johnny G. Plate is encouraging Indonesians to install the government's Peduli Lindungi app to help protect themselves from coronavirus infection

Peduli Lindungi is a tracing, tracking and fencing app and part of the government's effort to carry out integrated surveillance to curb the spread of Covid-19, the minister said.

"It's to protect the public. The app can tell you if there is a person under surveillance [ODP], patient under observation [PDP] or a confirmed Covid-19 patient within the radius of two to five meters by sending an alert to your cellphone," Johnny said on Tuesday.

The minister claimed people under surveillance, patients under observation and confirmed Covid-19 patients have been installing the app, which means their movements can be monitored from the Health Ministry's web-based dashboard.

"Using their mobile phone numbers, the app can also track the movements of Covid-19 patients for the past 14 days, including places they visited and people they interacted with. We can then warn those people that the patients met to self-isolate," Johnny said in a teleconference with the House of Representatives' Commission I, which oversees defense and foreign affairs.

Even though the app uses mobile phone numbers to track people, Johnny said the Covid-19 patients' and other users' personal data will be protected.

The Peduli Lindungi app can also identify large crowds of people then send a notification to the National Police, Johnny added.

The app also monitors foreign nationals and returning Indonesian citizens who enter the country's borders.

"The data will be archived and converted into QR codes that will be sent to the Health Ministry," he said.

According to the Communication and Information Technology Ministry's data, as of Tuesday the app, developed by state-owned telco Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) has been installed by 358,000 users.

The app is currently only available on the Google Playstore for the Android operating system.

"We're working on a partnership with Apple. Hopefully, we'll get approval in a week," Johnny said.

Internet Usage Up During Social Distancing

Since the government began telling Indonesians to observe physical distancing, Johnny said internet usage in the country has increased by around five percent to ten percent.

"That's still smaller than the increase during last year's Idul Fitri holiday, which reached around 20 percent to 30 percent. We're predicting this time the increase will be around 30 percent to 40 percent," he said.

Johnny claimed the country still has enough bandwidth to accommodate the increase in internet usage as people are forced to stay at home during the pandemic.

"There haven't been any complaints about the bandwidth from cellular operators. Internet connection is still good everywhere," Johnny said.

The minister said he had asked telcos to provide products and services that support President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's stay-at-home order.

"People should also do their bit by using the internet efficiently and for good and useful purposes," Johnny said.

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