“I can say that the COVID handling in Indonesia has not been bad, indeed it has been quite good,” the President said in the statement on his official YouTube account, arguing the country’s total cases and death toll are lower than countries with comparably large populations.
The President, known by his popular name Jokowi, defended his decision not to impose province- or city-wide lockdowns in places where cases continue to surge because he said that would have hurt people’s livelihood.
“Prioritising health matters does not mean we are sacrificing the economy, because sacrificing the economy is equal to sacrificing the lives of tens of millions of people,” Jokowi said.
“Overcoming the pandemic is difficult, it requires hard work together, but I’m sure we can do it,” he said. “The most important thing in this situation is we should not make polemics and there should be no commotion.”
South-east Asia’s biggest economy is set to enter its first recession since the 1998 Asian financial crisis this year due to the pandemic. But the government’s worst-case forecast of a 1.7 per cent contraction in 2020 is better than many economies, officials say.
The President also pledged to order his ministers to improve their response to the crisis and urged people to complain or provide suggestions to the government.