In Jakarta, Indonesians wearing surgical masks walk through the streets after two people have been announced to have contracted coronavirus. Photo: Dasril Roszandi/ZUMA Wire/dpa

JAKARTA: Indonesia has not enforced a lockdown or the movement control order to stem the spread of Covid-19, because this is not easy to implement in a country with more than 270 million people.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency head, Doni Monardo, said that if implemented, the government would face various constraints to provide basic needs for millions of people in the country, who also inhabit the more than 16,000 islands.

“If lockdown or provincial quarantine (inter-provincial movement control) is imposed, what is the fate of daily workers (those who earn daily wages)?” he asked.

A spokesman for the Indonesian Government on Covid-19, Achmad Yurianto said 12 more deaths occurred within 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 221 cases, while from 12 noon yesterday to 12 noon today, a total of 247 new cases were reported bringing the total of positive cases to 2,738.

On March 31, Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) put the country in a state of emergency or health emergency and via setting that status, he ordered large-scale social restrictions to be implemented in all aspects of community activities.

President Jokowi had previously stated that Indonesia needs to deal with the transmission of the virus by taking into account certain conditions such as the vastness of the region, population, discipline, geographical conditions, culture, cultural economy, community economy and fiscal capacity.

Jokowi also announced various grants and incentives to people affected by the pandemic, including providing financial aid of Rp600,000 a month (about RM170) for three months to the poor, in addition to ‘kad sembako’ (a card to purchase basic necessities) worth Rp200,000 to over 20 million heads of households.

Although there are no restrictions on leaving homes Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia are now ‘quiet’ following a series of measures imposed since March 16, such as the closure of schools, places of worship, tourist and entertainment centres as well as directives to work from home for non-critical sectors, prohibition of large scale gatherings, restrictions on the use of public transport, in addition to the stay at home campaign. – Bernama