Introductory Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Limited Cabinet Meeting (Through Video Conference) on the COVID-19 Task Force Report, Monday 13 April 2020 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta
Date 13 April 2020
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
Distinguished Mr. Vice President,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Before listening to the report from the Chairperson of Task Force Team, I would like to address some matters.
First, I want the implementation of PCR tests to be expanded and the stack of sample checks to be reduced, particularly in the epicenter of the outbreak. I’ve learned that the number of labs has increased from 3 to 29 labs out of the 78 places being prepared.
To date, the implementation of PCR tests has reached 26,500 tests. This is also a good leap, but I want that we can implement at least more than 10,000 tests on a daily basis. Therefore, I really appreciate the immediate procurement of 18 PCR detectors conducted by Ministry of SOEs, which within this week, I think, 1, 2, 3 devices can be installed. Per day, one device can detect 500 PCR tests, meaning that 18 machines per day can detect 9,000 PCR tests on a daily basis. This is good news.
Second, on information data. I ask that the information data be truly integrated. All the information from ministries is to be incorporated into the Task Force so all the information is complete, be it on the number of patients under surveillance (PDPs), the number of people under surveillance (ODPs) in each region, the number of confirmed positive cases, the number of fatalities, or the number of those recovered. All become clear and well-documented. It should be updated on a daily basis and more integrated. Once more, this integrated data covers information on the PDPs, ODPs, those positive, then the recovered, the deceased, the number of those who have been (tested using) PCR. The data is made available and open so everyone can access the data properly.
Third, I have ordered Minister of Home Affairs to remind Governors, Regents, Mayors to maintain the availability of basic commodities, to make a future estimation, so that we can ensure that there is no shortage of basic commodities and the commodities are at affordable prices. And also this is a warning from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that deserves attention; we underline the warning that the COVID-19 pandemic could have an impact on world food scarcity or world food crisis. We really have to be clear on this issue. Maybe (this time) the harvest is good, but (what about) the next harvest season which will only be planted on August-September. Do monitor it in detail so that it does not interfere with production, supply chains, or distribution of existing food commodities.
Then, fourth, on the socio-economic impacts. I ask Minister of Social Affairs and also Minister of Finance to implement all programs this week. This is really urgent, be it the Pre-Employment Card program, PKH (Family Hope Program), Direct Social Assistance program, Staple Food Card program or the distribution of staple food in Greater Jakarta. All must be implemented this week. I monitor it directly on the ground yesterday. I notice that the people are waiting for the assistance. Do not let the people think that we just talk but no action to provide assistance to the people.
Finally, please bear in mind that mutual cooperation, participation, mutual assistance can be instilled from the lower layers of society. This is of particular importance. I am very happy to see what happened in Cimahi, that is, harmony between neighbors is well-maintained. So, the community gives support to its neighbors who confirmed positive and are in isolation. Things like this, mutual cooperation like this is what we must continue to echo, so if there is a patient in a village who is positive and in self-isolation, the neighbors can give support and do not ostracize the patient instead.
Then, technical things regarding the use of face masks might also need to be conveyed. Then, on physical distancing. To the regions, partial isolation, I think, is very important to be continuously conveyed so it will raise people’s awareness on what physical distancing is, what partial isolation is, and these can contain the widespread of coronavirus.
Then, regarding patients’ handling management. I also ask Minister of Health to pay closer attention to this issue. Do not let all patients be admitted to the existing hospitals; rather those with mild and moderate symptoms are admitted to Wisma Atlet COVID-19 emergency hospital. All hospitals must be aware of this. Then, those in need of intensive treatments can be taken to an existing hospital and those who do not can receive medical treatment at home through self-isolation.
I also really appreciate it – as this has not been revealed a lot – that we have “a hospital without walls” or telemedicine services. It is great if we could disseminate this. I think this differenciate us from other countries, that not everyone has to see a doctor or to go to the hospital or Puskesmas (public health center). However, it can be done through telemedicine service and thereby reducing the risk to medical personnel’s health. I received a report that currently some technology application companies have joined and are working together with Ministry of Health, from the previous 4 million users only to 15 million users now. This is good news.
In addition, please do check matters related to ventilators, PPEs. Do not let anyone still complain of the deficiency. Do monitor the supply so that there are no complaints at the lower level.
That’s all I can deliver in my introduction.
Translated by : Fairuzzamani Inayatillah
Reviewed by : Muhardi