Imam Hamdi, Jakarta – University of Indonesia's epidemiologist Pandu Riono on Saturday said the recent statement issued by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD reflected how ignorant state-officials were in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the context of the justifying the simultaneous regional head elections (Pilkada), Mahfud MD highlighted Jakarta's high number of cases despite not holding a regional election.
"Statements from state-officials such as these show the lack of understanding on how to handle the issue," said Pandu Riono on Saturday, October 3. "They pretty much want to justify continuing the Pilkada."
In the case of Jakarta's COVID-19 cases, the epidemiologist said the city's difficulties in suppressing the number of infections stemmed from the central government's fear of the implications if the PSBB restriction is implemented, which give the impression that the central government was prioritizing the economy rather than public health.
Pandu Riono explained that breaking the chain of coronavirus infections would prove difficult if firm social restrictions were absent. He also said Jakarta's decision to impose a second full-scale PSBB would only be able to slow the rate of infections.
"It hasn't been reduced, but it has slowed down," said Riono. "Public health should be prioritized over political interests."
Commenting on Pilkada elections slated for December this year, Pandu Riono believed that it would cause an uncontrollable spread of the virus and more deaths due to COVID-19.