Outbreak a 'national disaster' in Indonesia

JAKARTA • President Joko Widodo has declared the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia a "non-natural national disaster" in a presidential decree, as the republic reported its biggest daily jump in virus deaths with 60 new fatalities.

"(This decree) declares the non-natural disaster caused by the spread of Covid-19 a national disaster," states the decree, which was issued on Monday.

The decree also states that efforts to mitigate the outbreak are to be led by the Covid-19 task force with the cooperation of regional administrations, ministries and national agencies.

"Governor, regents and mayors, as the leaders of the Covid-19 task force (in their respective regions), have to mind the central government's policies when making any policy," states the decree.

Nationally, the government has advised the public to stay at home and maintain their distance in social interactions, though some regions with a high number of cases have already declared large-scale social restrictions.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency head Doni Monardo told The Jakarta Post yesterday that the Covid-19 task force will have broader authority, which includes ease of access to human resources.

Indonesia yesterday reported a total of 459 deaths and 282 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the South-east Asian country to 4,839.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2020, with the headline Outbreak a 'national disaster' in Indonesia. Subscribe