Novy Lumanauw, Lenny Tristia Tambun, Dion Bisara, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo held a meeting on Tuesday to evaluate how the large-scale social restriction, or PSBB, has worked – or not – in suppressing Covid-19.
Statistics offer little encouragement, though Jakarta, the capital and current epicenter of the pandemic in the country, has recorded a decline in new confirmed cases since the PSBB was first implemented on April 10.
Tegal, a city in the province of Central Java, has recorded zero new cases for the past two weeks after it imposed the curb on April 23.
The province resisted making the same move but the overall number of new cases there had also declined.
Meanwhile, the number of new cases in Banten, West Java and East Java continued to climb despite several cities being put under the restriction.
West Sumatra, which has imposed the PSBB in all areas of the province, saw the number of its confirmed Covid-19 cases jump three times to 16 in the past two weeks.
The mixed results from the PSBB in those provinces have encouraged the economy-minded president to reconsider a plan for easing the restriction soon.
"Any easing of the PSBB must be done carefully, it can't be done in a hurry. We must base it on data and reality in the field," Jokowi said.
"What happens in provinces implementing the PSBB has to be compared with what happens in provinces [that do not implement the restriction]. We might be able to apply limitations that are tailored to the needs of each region," the president said.
Indonesia has been eager to find ways to restart the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Jokowi had said earlier he expected the pandemic to peak in Indonesia in May.
A powerful business lobby said on Monday most businesses in the country would go bust not long after June should the restriction continue.
A leaked document from the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs showed the government was pondering various scenarios for reopening the economy in June.
Covid-19 Task Force Head Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo said on Monday the government is now planning to allow people under 45 years old to return to work.
"We want to give more opportunities for people from this age group to return to work and avoid being laid-off," Doni said on Monday.
Administrative and Bureaucracy Reforms Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, however, said what Doni revealed remains just a plan for now.
"There is no legal basis to allow people under 45 years old to go back to work. The current government regulation on the PSBB should still be followed," Tjahjo said.