PPKM was set to replace the old PSBB (Large Scale Social Restrictions) rules, hoping to slow COVID-19 infection rate in Indonesia.
On January 6, 2021, Airlangga Hartarto as the Chief of COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery Committee officially announced that the central government has curated a new set of rules named Restrictions on Community Activities (PPKM), in response of the spiking COVID-19 cases after the new year holiday period. Initially set for January 11-25, this policy was then extended until February 8, 2021.
Implemented for nearly a month, Epidemiologist from Universitas Indonesia, Tri Yunis Miko Wahyono, said that this policy is not effective. Inconsistent policies and lack of monitoring, he said, are two main factors of why this new set of rules has an effectiveness rate of 30%. He added that these restrictions should be implemented more strictly, especially in critical (red) and dangerous (orange) areas.
President Joko Widodo recently made a statement that he is disappointed with PPKM. He then instructed the stakeholders to coordinate and come up with better policy in order to slow down the COVID-19 infection rate in this country. Specifically, the President wants this policy to be applied in micro-government levels such as villages and RT/RW. The President made this statement in a limited cabinet meeting with the stakeholders.
Soon after the meeting, Luhut Pandjaitan as Airlangga’s deputy in the committee, held a discussion with epidemiology experts. During that occasion, Hariadi Wibisono as the President of the Association of Indonesian Epidemiology Experts (PAEI) delivered some suggestions to the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment.
He said, “From all of the COVID-19 infection cases, the source of infection cannot be traced back. It means the Testing, Tracing, and Treatment policy needs to be improved.”
Closing in on the end of the second period of PPKM implementation, we all hope that the meeting between the government and the epidemiology experts result in better policy. Meanwhile, we must also improve our discipline in wearing mask, avoiding the crowd, and washing our hands.