On 31 March 2020, Indonesia announces Rp 405 trillion COVID-19 budget. In this regard, President Joko Widodo has signed the Government Regulation (Perppu No. 1/2020) which would serve as a foundation for the government and banking and financial authorities to carry put “extraordinary measures to ensure the people’s health, safeguard the national economy and financial system stability”.

Out of this extra budget, the government will allocate Rp 75 trillion for healthcare spending, Rp 110 trillion for social protection and Rp 70.1 trillion for tax incentives and credit for enterprises. The biggest chunk, Rp 150 trillion, will be set aside for economic recovery programs including credit restructuring and financing for small and medium businesses (this amount is equivalent to ZAR 150 billion).

Due to highly urgent matters, on 31 March 2020, President Joko Widodo also declared COVID-19 health emergency and imposes large-scale social restrictions. President Joko Widodo had previously orderd his Cabinet on Monday to impose stricter rules on physical distancing in an effort to contain the worsening COVID-19 outbreak.

President Widodo also urged local and regional leaders to follow current regulations and not issue their own regulations. The President had ordered the National Police to legally enforce the restrictions.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted public sentiment over the unforgettable 1998 crisis, a violent period in Indonesia’s economic history. This has brought more concern after the Indonesian rupiah hit Rp 16,000 to the US dollar on 20 March 2020, the weakest since the outbreak.

Indonesia, however, has responded by announcing tax breaks to support companies, increasing healthcare spending and allowing the central bank to buy tradable government bonds to stabilize the rupiah, among other measures, in line with policies carried out by authorities worldwide to protect the economy.

Also, the Indonesian Government has announced that specialist doctors, general practitioners, dentists, midwives and nurses, as well as other mediacal workers will each be given a monthly incentive. This will range from 5,000 to 15,000 Rand.

As experienced by other countries in the world in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, Indonesia has also experienced an increase in the number of people infected. Data shows that as of 2 April 2020, 1,790 people have been infected and 170 people have died in Indonesia.

However, in order to overcome the further impact of COVID-19 is not only becomes the responsibility of the Government, but the community also plays a role in the success of the COVID-19 response. Many people at all levels from the philanthropic, public figures, state officials, to the working class have committed to make donations in order to help the Government or even in providing the medical equipment needed by the hospitals.

Indonesia has experienced various problems and disasters, but managed to overcome them, such as the financial crisis of 1998 and 2008 and various natural disasters on a large scale. COVID-19 pandemic is no exception.

The awareness of Indonesians, driven by the spirit of “gotong-royong” (mutual cooperation), to comply the Government’s policy in handling the COVID-19 outbreak, has become the main key of this success. This can be seen, in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and basic necessities for marginalized communities.

In the same spirit, Indonesia, together with Ghana, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland, has initiated a resolution, co-sponsored by 188 nations including South Africa, on COVID-19, calling for intensified international cooperation to defeat the pandemic that is causing severe disruption to our socieities and economies. The resolution titled ‘Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)’ was the first such document on the global pandemic to be adopted by the UN.

As is the case with South Africa and other counties in the world, which are currently at war with COVID-19, Indonesia is also stuggling to save the Indonesian people from this dangerous virus. Therefore, Indonesia fully understands the challenges faced by the Government and people of South Africa at this difficult time and for that reasons there would not be enough words of comfort than to call for all South Africans not to be discouraged, stay safe, keep healthy, and always comply with the provisions and direction providied by the Government for the good of us all.

Due to COVID-19 outbreak, Indonesia temporarily banned the export of face masks and other protective health gears to safeguard domestic supply. This is also as an effort to curtail the prices of these products that have jumped incredibly as buyers begin to stock up. The ban will be kept in place until the Government is satisfied that local supply is adequate.