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June 26, 2020, 09.00 PM

JAKARTA, – Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic paid a working visit outside the capital city during the transition period to a new normal on Thursday, June 25.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Heru Budi Hartono assured that strict health protocols were observed during the visit to East Java Province, which is categorized as a pandemic high-risk area or “red zone.”

Heru said that members of a limited presidential entourage had undergone medical checks and rapid tests as a precautionary measure.

“Prior to the departure, members of the president’s entourage comprising ministers, presidential security details, and other officials undergo rapid test,” Heru said.

To comply with health protocols, he added, the capacity of the presidential aircraft during work visits has also been reduced by half.

Also read: Home Affairs Minister: Indonesia Must Find Coronavirus Vaccine to Beat Pandemic

Before the pandemic, the presidential aircraft used to accommodate up to 55 passengers in each trip. This has been cut to 25 passengers amid the pandemic.

"Other groups have preceded us so that the number of passengers in the [presidential] aircraft reaches only 50 percent,” he said.

During his first stop in East Java’s capital, Surabaya, the president visited the East Java Covid-19 task force center, where he gave directions to the provincial task force team and East Java officials. He said East Java Province has reported Indonesia’s highest daily rise in coronavirus cases for two weeks.

A day earlier, the province reported 183 new confirmed cases. “This is the highest number [of Covid-19 cases] in Indonesia. Be careful as this is the highest [number] in Indonesia,” said Jokowi.

He gave the East Java Province officials two weeks to lower the transmission rate of the coronavirus. To achieve that, the head of state called on all relevant parties in East Java to work closely with the task force teams from the provincial to village level in handling the Covid-19 crisis.

“In the next two weeks we must seriously handle this together and all of the units must be integrated,” the president said.

Also read: Gojek Cuts 430 Jobs As Indonesian Economy Slows Down Due to Covid-19

He called on the relevant officials to take necessary actions in handling the case as Surabaya and its vicinity have recorded the highest spike.

“Surabaya can’t [be] alone, it can’t. Gresik must be under one management, Sidoarjo must be under one management, and also other cities and regencies because the flow of mobility, inbound and outbound, not only takes place in Surabaya,” he said.

During his visit, President Jokowi was informed that 70 percent of residents in East Java refuse to wear masks in public amid the pandemic.

“The figure is too high,” he said.

He said that the local administrations and the task force should raise public awareness about the danger of coronavirus and the importance of health protocols such as wearing mask, practicing physical distancing, and washing of hands with soap.

“I called on the religious leaders, community leaders to help raise awareness of health protocols,” he said.

Besides, he told the Ministry of Health and the National Covid-19 Task Force to provide masks for the people in East Java.

Banyuwangi ready for new normal

From Surabaya the president then proceeded to Banyuwangi, or about 300 km east of Surabaya. He made impromptu walkabouts to a traditional market in Rogojampi subdistrict. The president, who was accompanied by Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas, met directly with the residents all the while practicing physical distancing and wearing facemask.

Also read: Moeldoko: Indonesian Government Prioritizes Beyond Economy amid Pandemic

He visited the public service market in the area to get a closer look at how the facility provides services for the people such as printing family cards and identity cards. Accompanying him was the Head of Investment Agency and One Stop Integrated Services Office at Banyuwangi Regency Wawan Yatmadi.

From the market, the president then visited Villa So Long and So Long Beach to see the preparation of tourism operators to enter the new normal. Jokowi said that Banyuwangi is one of the areas that have improved their tourism sector amid Covid-19 pandemic. This includes the implementation of health protocols by using technology for tourist capacity management.

Travelers are required to apply online before visiting a tourist destination. The system will automatically stop the registration process when reaching a certain number of visitors based on the physical distancing measures.

The local government also conducts competency tests on health protocols for tour guides by involving medical experts. The tour guides will also be trained to have better understanding about health protocols. "I see that Banyuwangi is the most ready area in preparing programs toward the new normal," Jokowi said.

(Writer: Ihsanuddin | Editor: Fabian Januarius Kuwado)


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