Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has ordered his Cabinet to impose stricter rules on physical distancing coupled with "civil emergency policies" in an effort to contain the worsening COVID-19 outbreak.
"I ask that large-scale social restrictions and physical distancing policies be enforced more strictly and more effectively, which is why I said they should be coupled with civil emergency policies," Jokowi said in his introductory statement to a limited Cabinet meeting on Monday.
"I ask that clearer implementing regulations be prepared as guidelines for the provincial, regency and city administrations so they can work," he continued, adding that regional quarantine policies could only be enacted by the central government.
Before the meeting, presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman also said that the government would impose extreme physical distancing measures by declaring a civil emergency.
"President Jokowi will set a new stage of large-scale social restrictions through [declaring] a civil emergency," he wrote on his official Twitter account @fadjroeL.
However, the tweet was soon deleted, and replaced with a tweet stating that the large-scale social restrictions would be coupled with "health quarantine" policies instead.
"Only if things worsen significantly will a civil emergency [be declared]," he tweeted.
Large-scale social restrictions as well as regional quarantines are regulated under the 2018 Health Quarantine Law, which does not mention civil emergency policies. Civil emergencies are regulated under a 1959 law on emergency situations.
The story is still developing and The Jakarta Post is continuing to seek clarity on the use of the term "civil emergency".