Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo urged for a “sense of crisis” among his ministers as the country becomes one of the worst hotspots in the world.
Jokowi, as the president is known, also called off a paid vaccination plan and told state officials not to travel overseas after wide public backlash, urging them to exercise “social
sensitivity,” Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said. Only the foreign minister and those given special permission by the president can travel internationally, he added.
Indonesia added 51,952 Covid-19 cases with 1,092 people dying from the disease on Saturday. Brazil reported more than 45,500 infections on July 16, while US ones are climbing again. “The president has emphasized that in this period of emergency curbs, surely there must be a sense of crisis throughout all ministries, institutions and leaders,” Anung said.
Photos of ministers spotted overseas and a plan by a state-owned company to sell vaccines to individuals were met with anger and questions on why entities are allowed to profit from the doses. While support for Jokowi has stayed high through the pandemic — a May survey showed 75.6% approval — the virus resurgence has seen people voicing more discontent as infections and deaths surge amid an overwhelmed healthcare system.
The government will decide in the next few days whether to extend virus curbs imposed on the most populated islands of Java and Bali, said Luhut Panjaitan, minister for maritime and investment affairs, who oversees the measures. There’s been a significant drop in people’s mobility and there are signs that cases in Jakarta and Bali may start to flatten, he added.
All vaccines will remain free for individuals while the cost of doses procured for the private vaccination program will be borne by employers as originally planned, Anung said.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin had bemoaned the
private vaccination program
organised by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as it was slower than the public campaign and shots were bought at too-high prices.