Struggles Over the Restriction Measures
There were some contentions over authorizing the Jakarta government to put social movement restrictions in place. The measure ran into some administrative issues.
ATTENDING a meeting at the office of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) on Sunday, April 5, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto brought up the proposal of the Jakarta government to enact the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB). In that meeting, Terawan mentioned some data which had not yet been provided by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
Doni Monardo, chairman of the BNPB who is also head of the Covid-19 accelerated response task force, responded by saying that Jakarta in principle is ready to implement the PSBB. Dody Ruswandi, BNPB’s acting deputy for emergency response, who attended that forum, said that Doni also asked Terawan to quickly inform Anies in order to complete the documentation requested by the health ministry. “Doni also suggested that the (health) ministry asks Jakarta about their level of preparedness for logistics, social assistance, and security,” said Dody when contacted by phone on April 10.
Four days before that meeting at the BNPB office, on April 1, Anies sent a letter to Minister Terawan. Two points were mentioned in that letter, namely that Jakarta wished to be immediately given the PSBB status, and asking areas surrounding the capital city be considered a part of the pandemic epicenter. That letter was sent two days before the health ministry issued regulations on the application of the PSBB. In accordance with the Law on Health Quarantines, the PSBB can only be given after a regulation is made by the health ministry.
Two officials from the Jakarta City Hall who know about the drafting of that letter said that Anies initially included some supporting data, such as the number and distribution of coronavirus cases in Jakarta. That information was not included in the final letter which was sent to Terawan, as City Hall felt they were routinely reporting updates in the number of cases to the health ministry.
Terawan replied to Anies’ letter after the meeting at the BNPB office. In his reply, Terawan said that the Jakarta government needs to back up the PSBB request with supporting data, such as the number of cases, distribution map, and mitigation scenario if social restrictions are put into effect. At the end of his letter, Terawan asks Anies to resubmit the proposal, complete with the documentation requested by the ministry.
Health Ministry Secretary-General Oscar Primadi said that his institution asked the Jakarta government to provide data as regulated in the Health Minister Regulation No. 9/2020 regarding the PSBB guidelines. According to him, that data is needed to see the trend and scale of the spread of the coronavirus in Jakarta. “We are being cautious in authorizing this, but we are still being responsive,” said Oscar.
On the same day Terawan’s letter was sent to Anies, the health ministry received a letter from Covid-19 Accelerated Response Task Force Head Doni Monardo. This letter contained a recommendation for the proposed social restriction measures in Jakarta. Doni verified the news that his team sent a letter to the health minister as a follow-up from the meeting with Terawan at the BNPB office.
Wiku Adisasmito, head of the expert team for the Covid-19 task force, said that his institution submitted a recommendation for social restriction status in Jakarta after examining the spread of the coronavirus in the capital city. According to him, the number of cases and deaths of patients continue to increase significantly. “We see that Jakarta meets the criteria to immediately apply social restrictions,” said this professor at the University of Indonesia.
When considering authorizing PSBB measures for Jakarta, on April 6, Terawan also took part in a teleconference led by Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy. This meeting, which was to discuss case modeling of Coronavirus Disease 2019 or Covid-19, was also joined by several health experts. Muhadjir asked public health experts to give Terawan suggestions regarding the implementation of the PSBB.
Pandu Riono, an expert in epidemiology from the University of Indonesia who took part in that meeting, considered that the content of the regulation on social restrictions just copied the Law on Health Quarantine. This was also the case for Health Minister Regulation No. 9/2020 regarding the PSBB guidelines. Pandu said that as the virus had already spread to various areas, social restrictions should not only go into effect at the regional level, but also at the national level. “The conditions to apply for it are also strange and too bureaucratic,” he said. According to Pandu, Terawan promised to take note of his criticism in the granting of PSBB authorization.
Before that teleconference was held, Jakarta City Hall received a letter from the health ministry requesting additional information. Responding to that request, the Jakarta Covid-19 task force prepared the documents sought by the ministry. However, according to two officials at City Hall, that data was only sent via e-mail after the health ministry contacted an official of the city’s health office and informed them that it was not necessary sent an official written reply. Health Office Deputy Chief Khafifah Any neither confirmed nor denied this. “It was more or less like that,” she said.
The efforts of the Jakarta government to file for the authorization to restrict the movement of its residents began near the end of March. Anies sent a letter requesting approval of regional quarantine to President Joko Widodo through Minister/State Secretary Pratikno. An official at City Hall who helped writing the letter said the Jakarta government reasoned that the coronavirus had spread to all parts of the city.
This proposal was submitted before there was any government regulation as should be derived from the Law on Health Quarantine. President Jokowi had previously said that he did not want there to be any regional quarantines.
Three days after Anies proposed a Capital quarantine, President Jokowi issued Government Regulation No. 21/2020 regarding Large-Scale Social Restriction in the framework of accelerated Covid-19 response. That regulation outlined the limitations of public activities designed to stop the spread of the virus, rather than resorting to regional quarantines. Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman said that the measure proposed by Governor Anies was automatically voided after this regulation was issued.
On Friday, April 10, the Large-Scale Social Restrictions officially went into effect in Jakarta. This province is the first to apply such measures. That day there were 3,293 cases of coronavirus in Indonesia, with 306 deaths, with more than half of them taking place in the capital city, with 1,810 cases and 156 deaths.