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Commentary: Indonesia caught between harder measures and backlash in opposition to guidelines as COVID-19 surges

As the present wave of infections was gathering tempo, a nationwide ballot by the non-partisan Indonesia Survey Institute, or LSI, revealed that public opinion was narrowly in favour of prioritising the financial system over public well being measures when contemplating lockdowns, with 69 per cent reporting their family incomes had declined through the pandemic.

Add to this the strain from the enterprise sector, which has lobbied laborious for the federal government to soft-pedal restrictions.

With the general public and enterprise onside, there may be little signal that President Widodo’s political dominance is beneath menace — certainly, his allies have reportedly been sounding out political powerbrokers about amending the structure to permit him to increase his time period past 2024, when he’s presently term-limited.

Time will inform whether or not these designs are hubristic. However it’s clear that the federal government thinks it has judged the politics of the pandemic properly.


A good vaccine programme will additional safeguard the president’s political standing. Between Indonesia’s in depth community of puskesmas (group well being clinics), and a scheme permitting personal employers to purchase doses to vaccinate their workforces, there are strong foundations for competent vaccine rollout.

Progress will probably be aided by the variety of residents who acquire immunity the laborious approach by an infection. With so many gentle or asymptomatic instances going undetected by the testing regime, it’s doubtless that the variety of Indonesians with some pure immunity dwarfs the variety of vaccine recipients at current, although there’s not sufficient national-level serological knowledge to say for positive.


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