Mitigation of Covid-19 Economic Impact

Rusli Abdulah Researcher at INDEF

IO – The government policy of not taking regional quarantine options seriously could worsen the spread of Covid19 and the economic impact on the regions. The results of economic recovery will be longer if compared with the case of Covid19 concentrated in one area only – in this case, DKI Jakarta. Furthermore, the spread of the Covid19 in the village threatens village support for the city. The government has finally decided to enforce PSBB policy options on large-scale social restrictions. The policy has been implemented with a Government Regulation (PP) and Presidential decree (Keppres) on PSBB. 

The PSBB policy is only a variation on local head policies that have enforced so-called social distancing. Some districts have carried out the Policy of Curtailing face-to-day learning. The PSBB policy appears in Section 59 Clause 3, Act No. 6 of 2018 Concerning Health. This clause stipulates Large social limitation of the fewest includes: (a) the school and workplace; (b) restrictions on religious activities; and/or (c) restrictions on activities at venues or public facilities. 

The Impact 

The economic impact of PSBB policy is lower when there is a lockdown in the short term. But over the long run, the economic implications of PSBB can be more significant than lockdown. This is based on the provision that PSBB still permits people to enter pandemic regions. But when a territorial quarantine policy is enforced, people can no longer exit quarantine areas. 

Thus, a lockdown does not allow people from Depok or Bogor to travel to Jakarta for economic activity there. This will hit traders from Depok or Bogor who cannot work in Tanah Abang market from home such as office workers. However, the policy of PSBB without closing the entrance of the area still allows economic activity in the market of Tanah Abang, with the requirement of strict physical distancing. 

Lockdown in a region like Jakarta, would result in people staying at home. This is not a problem because the government assures the availability of its needs. This is listed in Article 55 section 1 which states during a quarantine, the necessities of life for people, specifically, food and livestock in the area quarantined, is the responsibility of the central government. Then, paragraph 2 mentioned the responsibility of the central government for the implementation of a regional quarantine, as mentioned in clause (1); this is done by involving local government and related parties. 

But over the long run, the PSSB policy is more economically impactful. It has already begun in the last two weeks, where Covid19 cases have started to spread through the area. Examples include the homecoming case of the foreign workers from Wonogiri: after a circular closure of Jakarta offices a fantastic figure of 14 thousand people needed attention. There is one Covid19- positive bus driver on the Wonogiri- Bogor route. 

Another case is the number of ODP in Sumedang Regency: it jumped 40-fold in one week. As of 21 March, the number of ODP (people under supervision) was only 48 people. On 28 March it had risen to 1889, most of whom were new nomads returning from the Covid-19 Jabodetabek red zone. Recently, Sukabumi District has been declared as a new cluster of Covid-19 eruption, with a report of about 300 inhabitants definitely infected. 

As the spread of cases in the region continues, it is feared that incidents such as are reported from China and Italy would occur in Indonesia. A Covid-19 epicenter that was originally only in Wuhan, China, within two months had spread almost over the face of the earth. Italy, which began with its citizens’ persistent symptoms of Covid-19, which most people considered nothing more than common flu, must be a country with the number of cases of death just behind China. It is also the case with Iran, another country not too strict about enforcing social distancing. 

If the mass of serious cases in China and Italy occurred in Indonesia, the country’s support for cities, in the supply of foodstuffs and labour from the village, is endangered. If an outbreak occurs in the area, agricultural activities of residents in providing rice, vegetables, and various animal proteins are threatened. Even when the city recovers from Covid-19, the village has not necessarily gotten rid of the virus, considering new spreads happen after the city. 

The spread of Covid-19 in the area also threatens the rice harvest, which will begin in some areas in the first and second week of April 2020, as harvests tend to involve many people in the village. Thus, a harvest could precisely turn into another distribution nexus for Covid-19. 

Since Covid-19 in the village could be interrupted with a PSBB policy option, the role of village government is vital, in quarantining villagers who are just returning from the city, or abroad, as a supervising person (ODP-Orang DalamPengawasan). In addition to running the ODP protocol, the village government can also escalate the power of mutual assistance of villages, in providing the basic needs of ODP during the quarantine. 

Without the assistance of the central government or local governments, the authors believe the villagers can very well run the handling protocol of Covid-19 – but with one condition: the active guidance of village government leadership amid their citizens. Thus, the village or area could soon recover as a complement to the city.