Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – The House of Representatives has extended its recess period for seven days until March 29 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with Jakarta – which house the House compound – being the hardest-hit area in the country.
The recess period, which started on Feb. 28, was initially scheduled to end on March 22.
"We've agreed to extend the recess period and postpone the opening of the House's next sitting period until March 29," House Speaker Puan Maharani announced following a teleconference meeting on Friday.
Should the situation continue to exacerbate after March 29, the House speakership could further extend the recess period.
The ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, however, called on lawmakers in commissions that oversaw issues related to the work of Indonesia's COVID-19 rapid-response team to be proactive in assisting the government in handling the pandemic.
"The House is now focusing on overseeing the government's efforts in handling the coronavirus and studying its impacts, especially the socioeconomic impacts," she said.
As of Friday, Indonesia has recorded 369 cases of COVID-19 infections, 215 of which were reported in Jakarta. The death toll from the disease has reached 32 to date, with 18 of the fatal cases occurring in the capital.
Puan further urged the government to work faster in delivering medical services to the public, including ensuring the availability of testing kits, medical workers as well as masks and hand sanitizer.
House Legislative Body deputy chairman Achmad Baidowi said lawmakers and their family members were scheduled to undergo COVID-19 testing in Kalibata and Ulujami in South Jakarta during the recess period.
"The House secretary-general will notify the time and place later," he said.