Doctor's association questions Jokowi's claim pandemic under control

Source – January 27, 2021
Widodo looks out of car window after visiting national hero's cemetery in Kalibata – October 11, 2020 (Antara)

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Jakarta Indonesian Doctor's Association (IDI) Chairperson Slamet Budiarto has questioned a statement by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo who said that the government has succeeded in bringing the coronavirus pandemic under control.

Budiarto said he was confused about what parameters Widodo was using in making such as statement.

"I don't understand why Pak [Mr] Jokowi made such a statement. Perhaps in terms of the economy, I don't know what the economy is like. What I do know is in term of health", said Budiarto when contacted by on Wednesday January 27.

Budiarto asserted that in terms of health, the pandemic is clearly out of control. This can be seen from the first parameter, the high death rate.

On Tuesday January 26 Indonesia recorded an additional 336 Covid-19 related deaths. This brought the total number of deaths to 28,468.

"Our death rate is the highest, number 1 among Asean countries, both in terms of percentage and number. I expect that by the end of the year there will be 100,000 deaths, by December 2021", said Budiarto.

The second parameter used by the IDI meanwhile is the rate of new daily infections. As of yesterday, there were an additional 13,094 new cases. This brought the accumulative number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia to over 1 million.

The deputy chairperson of the IDI confessed that he does not understand the parameters being used by Jokowi when he said the pandemic is under control.

"Yes well perhaps the President has another parameter. For us at the IDI the parameters are the death and infection rate", said Budiarto.

Regardless of the parameters being used, Budiarto is asking the government to focus on dealing with the pandemic in terms of health so the death rate can be brought down.

He said he has already proposed to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin that Covid-19 patients with minor symptoms be treated at home under the care of general practitioners. "One doctor can monitor 10 people. Later they could be given incentives", said Budiarto.

In this way, hospitals will not be full and treatment rooms in hospitals can be used to focus on patients with medium and serious symptoms. "Right now the death rate is rising because hospitals are overloaded", he said.

President Widodo said recently that in 2020 and entering 2021 Indonesia has faced a number of difficult challenges. One of these is the Covid-19 pandemic which has resulted in a health and economic crisis.

Widodo however also claimed that Indonesia has been able to control both crises well.

"We are grateful. Indonesia is among the countries that is controlling these two [health and economic] crises well", said Widodo during a full working assembly session of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) through the PGI Yakoma YouTube channel on Monday January 25.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Klaim Pandemi Terkendali, IDI Bingung Apa Indikatornya".]