September 19, 2020, 01.12 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.comIndonesian General Election Commission (KPU) chairman Arief Budiman has tested positive for Covid-19 just as the commission continues to grapple wih the logistics of the nationwide regional elections between this month to December.

“I only found [the Covid-19 positive result] after I took a PCR test on Thursday, September 17 as a standard precaution before attending a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Bogor [West Java] the next day,” he said.

“The meeting went ahead with another KPU official filling my place. I experienced none of the typical symptoms [of Covid-19], such as coughs, flu, shortness of breath or higher body temperatures.”

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Arief added that he started to self-isolate at home. The KPU started sterilizing its offices and ordered its employees to undergo mandatory swab tests before they start to work from home until September 22.

For his part, House of Representatives legislator Saan Mustopa, Commission II Deputy Chairman overseeing the elections, regional autonomy and other aspects of domestic governance, conveyed his well wishes to the long-time KPU chief.

“I can assure that Arief’s [positive Covid-19] condition will not hinder the regional elections. The KPU has seven commissioners to ensure that the elections proceed smoothly while Arief starts his recovery process,” Saan said.

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“The House of Representatives and the KPU have no plans to delay the regional elections. However, we are still monitoring and assessing the situation.”

Arief is the second KPU to be stricken by Covid-19 after KPU commissioner Evi Novida Ginting Manik tested positive for the coronavirus on September 10.

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