No exact date yet for reopening economy: Luhut

06-Jun-2020 Intellasia | JakartaPost | 6:02 AM Print This Post

After around two months of coronavirus restrictions in four provinces and 26 cities, the government is planning to ease the restrictions, but has yet to come up with a specific date, according to Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment minister Luhut Pandjaitan.

Luhut, a Golkar Party politician, said Tuesday that the decision would depend on several indicators, including a decline in the number of confirmed cases and the test positivity rate. In line with the World Health Organization’s instruction, massive testing and tracing are the necessary preconditions the government aims to meet.

“That is the reason we have not yet announced it,” Luhut said in an online talk on Tuesday. “But we are obviously making preparations, so when we see a downward trend for two weeks, I think it will be about time to reopen.”

Jakarta, the national epicenter of the pandemic with 7,485 confirmed COVID-19 cases, has decided to extend the period of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to the end of June as Indonesia’s capital city enters the transition phase with gradual easing plans in place for several sectors.

But Indonesia’s total tests relative to the size of population only stood at 0.85 tests per 1,000 people as of Monday, far lower than neighbouring Malaysia with 17.32 tests, according to Our World in Data, an open access publication of global socioeconomic data.

The government did not rule out the likelihood of imposing further coronavirus restrictions if people did not comply with health protocols such as wearing a face mask and practicing physical distancing after the current restrictions were lifted for fear of a second wave of coronavirus cases, said Luhut.

“We will carry out the exit strategy gradually in three phases, which will be reviewed every month,” said Luhut. “The treatment varies from one region to another depending on its pandemic curve.”

The World Bank projected that if the coronavirus restrictions lasted for four months, Indonesia’s economy might contract 3.5 percent this year. Signs of a coronavirus-induced downturn appeared in the first quarter growth, which slowed to 2.97 percent year-on-year.

As part of its plan to speed up the economic recovery, the government seeks to increase the share of revenue from domestic tourists from 55 percent to 70 percent as the temporary halt in global travel hinders foreign tourist arrivals. The number of foreign arrivals fell 87.44 percent to just 160,000 in April from a year earlier.


Category: Indonesia

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