Highlights in the media today: The government lacks inter-sectoral coordination, checkpoints to control land travel following ‘mudik’ ban activated, the Finance Ministry to include COVID-19 financial package in 2021 draft budget

Government officials have not shown a unified response in the fight against COVID-19. For instance, Foreign Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi claimed on Thursday (April 23) that the government had increased its testing capacity to up to 12,000 per day. The daily reports issued by the Health Ministry, however, showed that the government had been testing only about 1,000-2,000 new samples per day over the past weeks.

When asked about the statement of the foreign minister,  the government’s spokesman on COVID-19 affairs Achmad Yurianto claimed that he was not aware of it and said that he had to check the statement first before giving any comments.

Meanwhile, the Industry Ministry has been accused of undermining the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) by issuing operational and mobility permits (IOMKI) to companies in the manufacturing sector. Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita defended the policy by saying that they had no choice because the manufacturing sector was the largest contributor to the economy.

As of April 27 16:20 (GMT+7), official data said that Indonesia had recorded 9,096 COVID-19 cases, 1,151 recoveries, and 765 deaths.

All passenger vehicles from regions that have imposed large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) have been barred from leaving their respective regions. Following this year’s ‘mudik’ (exodus) ban, checkpoints for land routes will be activated from Friday (April 24) to May 31 to monitor the flow of vehicles between cities and provinces.

On Friday, about 3,000 passenger vehicles leaving Greater Jakarta were reportedly asked to return.

The economic impact of COVID-19 is expected to continue into 2021 and 2022. Currently, the Finance Ministry is drafting the 2021 state budget, which will include a financial package to handle the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the unemployment rate predicted to reach 7.5% this year, senior economist Chatib Basri said that the government should consider designing a different kind of social safety net design that could protect those who were vulnerable to the impacts, particularly those in the lower to middle class who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.


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