The Politics of National and Local Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia

by Max Lane

(ISEAS Perspective : ISSUE: 2020 No. 46, Singapore | 15 May 2020)

On March 31, President Joko Widodo issued Government Regulation No 21/2020 allowing
Large Scale Social Restriction (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar – PSBB) aimed at
limiting the spread of COVID-19.1 The event marked the beginning of a relatively stable
approach to the national government’s management of the pandemic in Indonesia, coming after 3 months of prevarication. During that period, there had been signs of positive local government and community responses.
News reports on the emergence of the virus appeared in the Indonesia media during the last week of January 2020. The Indonesian Ministry of Health declared on February 4 that the virus had the potential to become an epidemic.2 On February 28, the Disaster Management Agency issued a Declaration of Special Emergency Situation of COVID-19 Epidemic Disaster in Indonesia. The first official confirmation of a COVID-19 patient was on February 29, in Jakarta, after a misdiagnosis on February 16.

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