November 18, 2020, 07.28 PM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s Covid-19 Task Force has advised that the coronavirus pandemic will change the way the government deals with natural disasters.

“We urge provincial administrations to take the Covid-19 pandemic into account as they draw up their disaster management plans,” said Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Professor Wiku Adisasmito in a press conference uploaded on the Presidential Secretariate’s YouTube channel on November 17.

Also read: Indonesia's Jokowi: Covid-19 is a Wake-Up Call to Improve Healthcare System

“We, along with the National Disaster Management Board [BNPB], has drawn up contingency plans and risk management to minimize the likelihood of deaths [from natural disasters] or damages that might be incurred in the disasters.”

He added that the plans include “shelters or places whose designs will minimize the chance of coronavirus transmission. These include permanent structures like boarding houses, small hotels and other permanent structures that are habitable and clean.”

“Tents do not meet this criteria, and so should be used for shelters as a last resort.”

Wiku added that the permanent structures are more suited for health protocols like social distancing, wearing masks, or washing hands. The protocols also applied for evacuees fleeing disaster areas, while health workers will be on hand to help the public out.

Also read: Indonesia Highlights: Occupancy Rate of Covid-19 Hospital Beds in Jakarta Rising | Jokowi Asserts Equal Access to Covid-19 Vaccine | East Java Hosts Fashion Show 

“The evacuees should have their personal needs on their person, such as spare masks, hand sanitizers and utensils, as [Covid-19] made sharing them out of the question," he said.

"The pandemic posed enough challenges in normal circumstances that are compounded during natural disasters.”

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