Jokowi urges 'sense of crisis' as Indonesia becomes Covid-19 hotspot

Published Sat, Jul 17, 2021 · 02:02 PM

[JAKARTA] Indonesia's President Joko Widodo urged for a "sense of crisis" among his ministers as the country overtakes Brazil in daily coronavirus cases to become the worst in the world.

Jokowi, as the president is known, called off a paid vaccination plan and told state officials not to travel overseas after wide public backlash, urging them to exercise "social sensitivity", Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said in a statement. Only the foreign minister and those given special permission by the president can travel internationally, he added.

"The president has emphasised that in this period of emergency curbs, surely there must be a sense of crisis throughout all ministries, institutions and leaders," Mr Anung said.

Photos of ministers spotted overseas and a plan by a state-owned company to sell vaccines to individuals were met with anger and questions on why entities are allowed to profit from the doses.

While support for Jokowi has stayed high through the pandemic - a May survey showed 75.6 per cent approval - the virus resurgence has seen people voicing more discontent as infections and deaths surge amid an overwhelmed healthcare system.

All vaccines will remain free for individuals while the cost of doses procured for the private vaccination program will be borne by employers as originally planned, Mr Anung said.

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Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin had bemoaned the private vaccination programme organised by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as it was slower than the public campaign and shots were bought at too-high prices. It was due to the lag in the private programme that the government decided to offer unused shots for sale to individuals.

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