Indonesian doctors challenge Jokowi’s claim pandemic is ‘under control’

Joko Widodo
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo looks out of a car window after visiting the national heroes' cemetery in Kalibata. Image: Kompas/Antara file

By Ihsanuddin in Jakarta

Jakarta Indonesian Doctor’s Association (IDI) chairperson Slamet Budiarto has challenged a statement by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who has claimed that the Indonesian government has succeeded in bringing the coronavirus pandemic under control.

Budiarto said he was confused about what parameters Widodo was using in making such a statement.

“I don’t understand why Pak [Mr] Jokowi made such a statement. Perhaps in terms of the economy, I don’t know what the economy is like. What I do know is in terms of health,” Budiarto told

Budiarto asserted that in terms of health, the pandemic was clearly “out of control”. This could be seen from the first parameter – the high death rate.

According to the Johns Hopkins University world covid-19 map, Indonesia’s total number of deaths today is 30,277.

“Our death rate is the highest – number 1 among Asean countries – both in terms of percentage and number. I expect that by the end of the year there will be 100,000 deaths, by December 2021,” said Budiarto.

The second parameter used by the IDI, meanwhile, is the rate of new daily infections. On the day of the interview, there were an additional 13,094 new cases.

More than 1 million cases
Today the accumulative number of covid-19 cases in Indonesia is 1,089,308.

The deputy chairperson of the IDI confessed that he did not understand the parameters being used by Jokowi when he said the pandemic was under control.

“Yes, well perhaps the President has another parameter. For us at the IDI the parameters are the death and infection rate,” said Budiarto.

Regardless of the parameters being used, Budiarto is asking the government to focus on dealing with the pandemic in terms of health so the death rate can be brought down.

He said he had already proposed to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin that covid-19 patients with minor symptoms be treated at home under the care of general practitioners.

“One doctor can monitor 10 people. Later they could be given incentives,” said Budiarto.

In this way, hospitals will not be full and treatment rooms in hospitals can be used to focus on patients with medium and serious symptoms.

‘Death rate rising’
“Right now the death rate is rising because hospitals are overloaded”, he said.

President Widodo said recently that in 2020 and entering 2021 Indonesia had faced a number of difficult challenges. One of these was the covid-19 pandemic which had resulted in a health and economic crisis.

Widodo, however, also claimed that Indonesia has been able to control both crises well.

“We are grateful. Indonesia is among the countries that is controlling these two [health and economic] crises well,” said Widodo during a full working assembly session of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) through the PGI Yakoma YouTube channel last week.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Jokowi Klaim Pandemi Terkendali, IDI Bingung Apa Indikatornya”.

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