Task Force Chief: Forest Fire Increases Risk of Covid-19 Exposure

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • Forest fire illustration. REUTERS

    Forest fire illustration. REUTERS

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Head of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Doni Monardo, said that land and forest fires risk exacerbating Covid-19 outbreak. Therefore, it is vital to increase the amount of work for this year's fire prevention efforts.  

    "If there are forest and land fires, it can be ascertained that people with respiratory problems, asthma, will be more prone [to Covid-19 exposure]," Doni said in a work meeting with the House of Representatives Commission VIII, Tuesday, June 23.

    Doni reminded that respiratory problems and asthma are among comorbidities for Covid-19 patients. Therefore, he called on all fire prevention officials and the public to work hard to prevent forest and land fires.

    Doni, who is also chief of the National Covid-19 Task Force, said President Joko Widodo had also reminded about preventing forest and land fires this year.  

    On Tuesday morning, Jokowi assigned Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud Md., Minister of Forestry and the Environment Siti Nurbaya, as well as a number of ministries, the TNI and the Police, to optimize prevention efforts.

    Last year, 1.6 million hectares of land were engulfed by fire. Doni believes that land-clearing activities will decrease this year. "It seems that there will be a reduction, especially because of the large-scale social restrictions in areas usually affected by land and forest fires," the three-star TNI general said.

    Read also: Walhi Deems Govt's Statement on Forest Fires Misleading

    BUDIARTI UTAMI PUTRI