Jokowi Recalls Decision Against Lockdown in Early Pandemic: ‘I Meditate for 3 Days’

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has again talked about his decision not to impose a lockdown at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic albeit 80 percent of cabinet ministers and House or DPR members voiced the request as implemented in other countries.

    “I meditated for 3 days to decide whether we should lock down or not. Because I really don’t have experience with this,” he said at the national coordination meeting on the transition period of COVID-19 handling and national economic recovery in 2023 in Jakarta, Thursday, January 26, 2023.

    Under various pressures during the crisis in the early days of COVID-19, the President said “we [may don’t have] clear minds, we were in a hurry, we were frustrated, so we could make mistakes and do wrong.”

    If at that time the government decided to impose lockdown, he predicted that in two to three weeks, people would no longer have the opportunity to make a living.

    “Everything is closed, the state cannot provide assistance to the people, what would happen? People must have caused riots. That’s what we calculated, so we decided not to impose lockdown,” he remembered.

    Even though there was no lockdown, state revenue continued to fall by 16 percent, while state spending had to increase by 12 percent. But this experience made all government agencies work together.

    One of them was in reaching 448 million COVID-19 vaccine injections amid geographical constraints in the country. 

    The state head thus praised all parties involved, including the military (TNI) and the police that done beyond their core duties. “Going to villages to get people vaccinated is not an easy job,” he acknowledged.

    Jokowi also considered that the gas and brake policies implemented during the pandemic were effective, although not easy. “Once the calculation is wrong, the economy will fall. Otherwise, if we step on the gas too hard, the pandemic can also increase,” he said.


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