Airlangga Hopes Handling of Coronavirus Faster than SARS

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, hopes that the handling of the coronavirus can be done promptly, as he sees the virus to have impacted Indonesia’s economy, especially in capital market activities.

    “Hopefully not too long, if you reflect from SARS (and its handling of) about eight months, hopefully, this can be done faster," he said at the Fairmont Hotel, Jakarta, on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

    Airlangga went on to say that the government has discussed the impacts of the coronavirus on the nation's economy, yesterday. According to him, President Joko Widodo asked his staff to monitor the situation related to the effects of the virus.

    Temporarily, Airlangga stated, the government also chose to take conservative steps, by limiting imports of live animals from China. However, Airlangga made sure that there were no restrictions on other products. "This policy will be evaluated every two weeks," he said.

    Previously, President Jokowi asked his ministers to examine the impact of the coronavirus on the economy in the trade, investment and tourism sectors. In the trade sector alone, China is one of the main export destinations, with a market share of 16.6 percent of Indonesia's total exports. "However, at the same time, (China is) the country Indonesia imports the most from.”

    In addition to anticipating the impacts of the coronavirus, Jokowi sees the coronavirus as an opportunity for Indonesia to open export to countries which previously has only imported products from China, as several countries also began to restrict trade with China following the epidemic.

    “This provides momentum for the industry to substitute imports in the country to increase the production of various products that were previously imported from China," Jokowi said.

    CAESAR AKBAR | DIO SUHENDA (INTERN TRANSLATOR)