Statement of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Meeting with Editors in Chief of National Media on the COVID-19 Handling for Post Micro-Scale Public Activity Restrictions (PPKM Mikro), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta Province
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Greetings of virtue.
First of all, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude for your attendance this afternoon. First, I would like to address vaccine-related issues.
After we provided three million doses of vaccines for healthcare workers in the first phase, we have entered the second phase to distribute seven million doses of vaccines in the middle of February that will be focused on public servants, public workers, and also the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police (Polri) who have many interactions with the public. It includes journalists and athletes as well. It also includes those working in the office who often have contact with the public, for example, those who are in the financial services industry, market traders who frequently interact and have high mobility. I think we will prioritize seven million doses of vaccines for them. In March, we will receive more vaccines, perhaps in early March, we will receive eleven million doses. We will continue the same vaccination for priority groups first, not to mention the elderly. We have begun the vaccination last week, and we will carry on.
And maybe by the end of February or in early March, we will receive 4.6 million doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca. It is still being discussed at Ministry of Health, whether the vaccines will be specifically provided to some provinces so that the management will be easier to control. This has not been decided yet. For instance, AstraZeneca will be specifically provided to certain provinces only so the provinces will not receive mixed vaccines because the injection must be done twice. I have also been informed that the AstraZeneca (vaccines) will take a different time between the first and second injections. If Sinovac vaccines will take two weeks between the injections, AstraZeneca vaccines will take one month to two months, it is still unclear which one is right. I think this should be determined.
We hope that with a combination of the implementation of micro-scale public activity restrictions (PPKM) and the vaccination that we continue to carry out intensively, vaccination will not only be dependent on hospitals and health centers but we also start in mass forms, like the one we tried yesterday in Senayan, which is good. This morning, we have tried it again in Tanah Abang market.
And in Jakarta, we hope that 3.4 million (vaccine recipients) in the clusters will first get vaccinated since we already have the data. This is the result of our discussion with the Governor of Jakarta. We have decided on 3.4 million people. We hope that herd immunity will be achieved and it will reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19.
We will also determine that priority will be given to areas classified as red zones, they will take precedence. We will ensure the readiness of the vaccinators. Even though we have 30 thousand vaccinators, they are not evenly distributed. Thus, it also affects the speed of the vaccination process between one province and another. And, we hope that later with an additional team, including 30 thousand personnel from Ministry of Health, 9 thousand personnel from the TNI-Polri, I think it will reach 40 thousand vaccinators. If one vaccinator can vaccinate 30 people a day, it means there will be 1.2 million people a day. That is the estimation if we simply calculate them. However, the practice on the ground requires good improvisation so that the figure we have been expected for will be actually achieved.
However, the number of vaccines available still becomes an issue. The figure I have mentioned earlier, 3 million, 7 million, 11 million. It will reach the highest figure in the second semester. In the second semester, the figure is estimated to reach 40 million-30 million doses a month, but it will be in June-July.
That is my remarks regarding COVID-19. I invite anyone who wants to raise questions. Thank you.
Chief Editor of Metro TV (Arief Suditomo)
Distinguished Pak Presiden,
One of the things we would like to know, Pak, how is the mechanism set by the Central Government in order to follow up on the vaccination, Pak? A mechanism that can provide a kind of scoring to each province in terms of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic since the Government is now promoting the 3T measures; testing, tracing, and treatment. Nevertheless, we’re aware there are 10 provinces with the lowest positive rate contributions, Pak. Thus, the 10 provinces with the lowest cases have their test rates hidden, Pak, it’s mysterious. The test rates in the 10 provinces have never been openly shown to the public. Those provinces do not even have the PCR facility, the facility is only available in the provincial capital. Basically, we want to know your point of view, whether the Central Government will rank the provinces that have the best response to the pandemic, Pak, since the worst will definitely not inspire others, will the best one probably get the score or the rank?
Second, regarding their respective regional budgets, Pak. Has the Central Government, in this case Ministry of Finance, tried to examine how they manage their respective regional budgets in the joint process of tackling this pandemic, Pak? Because, there are several indications that some provinces are lacking in togetherness. They’re all just wait for allocation from the Central Government and the State Budget.
Therefore, that is all what we want to know, whether all of these have already been in your plan to rank or punish those who are basically not participatory and do not have a spirit of togetherness?
That is all, Pak. I thank you.
I thank you Pak President, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno, Ladies and Gentlemen.
We appreciate it all, Pak President, we realized that in the past month the active cases have dropped. We are afraid that the cases might just keep going up. However, it turns out that there is a significant drop even though the entire curve has not flatten yet. We also heard that there will be a plan for micro-scale public activity restrictions (PPKM) up to the neighborhood level (RT), right Pak?
It’s just a question from us, Pak. We also noticed the efficacy of the vaccines as said by Pak President, that’s amazing because health workers have proven that the virus transmission has decreased drastically. That means that the efficacy of the vaccines is extraordinary.
There are also the 3T measures, as said by Mas Arief. But my question is, when the PPKM Mikro is very powerful as it is monitored up to the neighborhood level, even when there are five neighborhood units with colors and so on. My question is, how can we, from the media, monitor it, Pak? There should be a dashboard for each neighborhood. It is expected to encourage each neighborhood to compete to turn their neighborhood into a yellow or green zone. Based on our records, Pak, the approach imposed by the Government is right, Pak, because it can reduce the cases. It’s about the speed, Pak, the speed. We are racing against the speed of transmission of the virus. Thus, once the PPKM approach is effective and it can be quickly implemented, it looks like we can reduce the cases drastically related to the COVID-19 infection.
That is all from me, Pak. I thank you.
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Well, actually regarding the mechanism, as Pak Arief said earlier, the provincial, regency, and city mechanisms do have categories, it’s already there. It’s just not as detailed as we expected. It will be easier if there is neighborhood/community units data submitted by the regencies/cities. We only set the mechanism up to the district level. This is all what we are directing, we estimate that maybe within a month or two we will be able to reach the neighborhood/community units.
Regarding the scoring per province, yesterday I called on 5 of them. I called on the top ranking first, “your province has active cases, this is the total of recovery rates, this is the total of mortality rates, you must do something so we have the same perspective.” Thus, is there any ranking? I have called on the first governor at the top ranking and the second governor, the third governor will be on this week.
The vaccination strategy is closely related to this ranking. Which one should we put first to achieve herd immunity. So once again, the ranking is essential for us to do, especially those related to the testing. The testing also cannot be evenly implemented. As in Jakarta, Jakarta has 12 times of testing as many as that of the World Health Organization (WHO) standard. Many provinces have met the standard, yet many of them that have not.
Therefore, yesterday we informed that there must be more pandemic-related matters included in the Regional Budgets for 2021. In 2020, the realization for COVID-19 is very low in the Regional Budgets. Yesterday, Minister of Finance said that the Regional Budgets should also provide allocation, be it in the form of social assistance/support for social assistance, or support in terms of purchasing PCR, antigens, masks, etc. so that the budget does not depend on the State Budget.
I was upset regarding the active cases due to the PPKM Mikro. I said that this PPKM was ineffective, I showed the numbers. The cases have dropped in only two provinces, none of the others have dropped at all. We have data and it is a complete data. I showed the increment of the curve. Why did I say at the beginning of the week that the PPKM is ineffective? Because the curve did not flatten.
But in the second week, it is evident that it has dropped. In the third week, it dropped again. Also, the number of active cases, if we remember, maybe three weeks ago, was still at 14 thousand or even 15 thousand. Now, since the past weeks, it stoods at 8 thousand-9 thousand. Yesterday, it rose again to 10 thousand.
This shows that if we implement the micro-scale PPKM seriously, it will show fruitful results. We have asked the Indian Minister of Health. I ordered to ask because the cases sharply dropped. What is the key? We heard from the media that they enforced a lockdown, in fact, they did not. It turned out that they imposed a micro-scale lockdown. That is what we do. At first, I actually put emphasis on micro-scale social restrictions (PSBB). Because it is ineffective. When the red zone is only in one neighborhood, the whole city is in lockdown. The economy will be affected then. If one sub-district is infected, then only that sub-district should be isolated, quarantined, not the whole city. That’s what India did. Although at first India had a total lockdown. So, why did India change it? Apparently, the strategy is the same, micro-scale PPKM.
Thus, that is what we do. If things did work in other countries, we can too. But we can’t follow the small countries, the easy ones. We are a big country.
So, back to the active cases, it seems to be decreasing and we continue to do this. I see our strength is in neighborhood/community units and we have village supervisory non-commissioned personnel (Babinsa) of the Indonesian Armed Forces and public order officers (Bhabinkamtibmas) of the Indonesian National Police. This is all devices we use now.
And, when we have reach the dashboard at the neighborhood level, it will be easier, Pak. How many people were affected in a neighborhood? Let say two, they should be quarantined for two weeks, they’d be recovered then, so the neighborhood is ready to open again, it’s safe. But it has to be at the micro-scale. Don’t impose a lockdown to the whole city when only five neighborhoods are affected, it’s not funny.
Based on the figures, we saw in Central Java yesterday after the vaccines have been injected, the drop figure was very clear, the mortality rate for health workers has dropped. We also hope the same for non-health workers after being vaccinated, this will reduce active cases in a region. I think that’s the proper approach.
And I have also said earlier that our approach to the vaccination is the herd immunity approach, the cluster approach, the approach of groups that have high mobility, high interaction, we prioritize all of them. Not that the others aren’t important, no. Because we desire to achieve maximum communal immunity.
Regarding vaccine distribution, I think we will distribute the vaccines equally from Sabang to Merauke first, we will distribute the vaccines equally. Minister of Health will report the percentage later. All provinces will be given, but we put the priority scale first. And, are we all going to get vaccinated? The answer is yes. We have counted that around 182 million people to get vaccinated and it requires approximately 426 million doses of vaccines. The counting includes the broken-vaccines adding with the WHO standard numbers, so we got 426 (million). We have secured a supply commitment for 426 million doses. We will continue to finalize the deals so that we can immediately receive the vaccines. That is no an easy task as 215 countries are now in bidding wars to receive the vaccine. Sometimes I have to make a phone call with the Presidents, yes I did, also call the authorities for health. This morning, I was informed that 4.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive at the end of this month or early next month.
Regarding the testing. According to the WHO standard for Indonesia, 38 thousand tests (a day) should be enough. Sometimes we reach up to 70 thousand, 60 thousand, also 40 thousand tests, while the WHO standard usually takes only 38 thousand tests. Thus, don’t keep pushing it. It’s okay if we conduct more tests, but it should be evenly conducted. Do not conduct the tests only in Jakarta. All provinces should meet the WHO standards. That is what we consistently do. The most important thing is we do this right on target. Hence, we are not doing it wrong. If one person has been tested up to 10 times just because he often meets me, then he will keep getting tested. It does not work that way. The test must be well-targeted.
Regarding the tracing. Our tracing on the ground has not run well yet. Because we only have five thousand correct tracers. The standard for us should be at least 50 thousand. We must improve things like this. Thus, yesterday we have conducted training for tracers from the TNI and Polri to speed things up. There are already a lot of tracers, but for the standard tracers, I have mentioned the total number earlier. There are maybe more than 100 thousand tracers, we may also have more than that. We trace those who actually have contact with at least 15 to 30 (people), that’s what we must do. However, we do the contact tracing on the road sometimes. That’s not how it works. All of these things, as I have said many times, need to be fixed.
In the fasting month of Ramadhan, we will still carry out the first vaccinations in the evening. The second one will be in the non-Muslim areas during the day. We will still carry out vaccinations in the fasting month.
Regarding the homecoming (mudik), it is still being discussed among the Coordinating Ministries, whether it will be the same as last year or not. However, the previous four times long holidays, including long weekends, the positive cases increased by more than 40 percent. We have not seen the total number in the last holidays yet, but during the New Year and before, it increased by more than 40 percent. That won’t happen again, I have said it, don’t repeat the same mistakes. Don’t do it again, it is enough. We have experienced it four times, if we do it again, then we must be out of our minds. We cannot inform the policy regarding the homecoming yet.
The one related to dissemination. Our dissemination for vaccines is only to explain the public that the vaccines are safe and halal. Based on the visit to the market, only three out of ten people wanted to get vaccinated, while seven others didn’t.
But then I saw everyone flocked in Tanah Abang market. Because when one person was brave, two were brave, three were brave, the others will follow. This was the good one. I saw it myself firsthand earlier and when I entered the market they’re all happy to get vaccinated and because… no, not because they are meeting the President, it wasn’t it. Perhaps, psychologically, they didn’t want to get vaccinated at first due to a lack of dissemination. Thus, those who weren’t willing to get vaccinated, now they are willing to. I’m not sure but maybe they all just took seats that have been provided since we did the vaccination on the spot, on the location. It is very influential, I think the injection on the spot is important. We are considering carrying out vaccination back to Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (GBK) or, well, we are seeking for different ways. Therefore, I saw earlier that if 1-2 persons were injected, then they passed through their friends, “how was it?” “it is good”. Maybe that’s the reason why they’re all happy. They’re happy because it’s fine.
I think after this, there will be a word-of-mouth campaign. Because when we explained through social media, they didn’t open social media, we explained on TV, they didn’t watch TV, it’s difficult sometimes. But it’s true, dissemination is lacking.
The most important thing is awareness. We don’t want to impose sanctions. We want people to get vaccinated but we scare them, I don’t think that’s what we want. Greater awareness is needed.
What about the Red and White vaccine, Pak?
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
We keep on encouraging the development… We cannot push too hard since it takes processes, there is a vaccine, a different platform, then it will be given to Bio Farma again to pass a clinical trial stage. The steps cannot be rushed. And, this is Indonesia’s first experience of making a full 100 percent vaccine, the Red and White vaccine. If any other countries joined us, it would be easier. But this is one hundred percent on our own, the Red and White vaccine.
Another question, Pak. Will there be another reshuffle this March, Pak?
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Wow, no, no, no. None. We are tackling this pandemic. Who will do the reshuffle? Whose reference is it? No, I answered firmly, none. (SA/MUR)