No more lockdown please, Indonesians say as coronavirus runs rampant

New cases in Jakarta jumped 433 on July 21, a daily record, taking the total infections to almost 90,000. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - With the worst coronavirus outbreak in South-east Asia taking a toll on Indonesia's economy and jobs, two out of three citizens oppose the continuation of strict social distancing orders to contain the deadly disease, according to a survey.

The government should prioritise efforts to revive the economy rather than tackling the virus spread, the majority of the participants in a poll conducted by independent surveyor Indikator Politik Indonesia said.

Those opposed to tough mobility restrictions, known as PSBB, jumped to 60.6 per cent from 34.7 per cent in May, the July 13-16 survey showed.

With most cities and provinces, including capital Jakarta, easing curbs, household economic conditions have improved from May when it was seen as the worst since 2004, the surveyor said.

The relaxation in what was already a set of loose social distancing measures has sparked a record surge in cases from Jakarta to Surabaya, the nation's largest cities and commercial centres.

The pandemic has hit Indonesia harder than the 1997 Asian financial crisis, battering small and big businesses alike, President Joko Widodo said last month. The outbreak has rendered millions of people jobless and may plunge more people into poverty, with the country potentially heading into the first recession in more than two decades.

New cases in Jakarta jumped 433 on Tuesday, a daily record, taking the total infections to almost 90,000, official data showed.

The world's fourth-most populous nation is the worst virus-hit country in South-east Asia, with a death toll of 4,320.

The government's approval rating rose to 60.2 per cent from 56.4 per cent in May, while 65.1 per cent survey participants were satisfied with the performance of Jokowi, as the President is popularly known, Indikator said.

Other highlights of Indikator survey are:

- 69.2 per cent of respondents rated the economy as bad and very bad, down from 81 per cent in May

- About 58 per cent participants believe Mr Joko can handle the pandemic and mitigate its impact, down from 67.7 per cent in May

- 63.1 per cent people want local elections scheduled for December to be postponed until the virus outbreak is contained

The survey was conducted among 1,200 participants over phone using random sampling method, Indikator said.

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