Indonesia Needs to Learn from South Korea for COVID-19 Handling

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  • Healthcare workers in protective gear prepare to leave after collecting swab samples to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a traditional textile market in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 2, 2020. The country also reported 53 new deaths, taking cumulative COVID-19 fatalities to 2,987. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

    Healthcare workers in protective gear prepare to leave after collecting swab samples to be tested for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a traditional textile market in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 2, 2020. The country also reported 53 new deaths, taking cumulative COVID-19 fatalities to 2,987. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

    By: Darynaufal Mulyaman & William Sulistyo | Dary is a lecturer at IR. Dept. of Universitas Kristen Indonesia (UKI) and a researcher at INADIS. He focuses on Korean studies and development issues. William is a senior student at IR. Dept. of UKI. He is interested in East Asian issues as well as geopolitics.

    One of the countries considered being the most successful in the world in dealing with this pandemic in South Korea. Coronavirus disease 2019 or also known as COVID-19 is presently concern and problem of the health system of all countries around the world. As of March 27, 2020, the United States ranks first with several positive COVID-19 cases, totaling 86,105 people, with 1,314 deaths and 753 people recovering, followed by China, which has many positive cases of COVID-19, 81,340 people, has a cure rate of 74,588 people and a mortality rate of 3,292 people. Also, Italy, the third country that has the largest positive case of COVID-19 amounted to 80,589 people, the number of people who recovered as many as 10,361 people and had the number of deaths from the virus that attacks these lungs by 8,215 people.

    However, South Korea has devised an early prevention strategy at every entrance gate of international airports and seaports, especially after the discovery of a large number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Daegu. Corresponding to South Korea's Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-Hwa, holding mass tests remains the key to all of South Korea's success in dealing with the pandemic from the coronavirus despite not implementing a lockdown policy. Nevertheless, South Korea through various careful policy strategies and support from Korean society, Korea is able to control the level of spread of COVID-19. It is proven that South Korea has only 126 dead people, meaning only 1.4 percent of the total cases and can cure 3,730 patients or 40.8 percent of the total cases.

    Unlike S.Korea, Indonesia seems not prepared enough in order to handle the spread of COVID-19. Luhut Panjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment said, "The dynamism (of the virus) is so fast, we do not think that this fast”. This means Indonesia is not envision the scale of capability for handling such pandemic. Thus it resulted in a lot of deaths in this pandemic, even the most fatal in ASEAN.

    As of the agility of dealing with the virus, the Indonesian government seems not to have a concrete plan to reduce the spreading of COVID-19. Starting from voluntarily based on physical distancing, no strict rules for avoiding large mass gatherings, and doesn’t have enough health facility for isolating and taking care of all the patients. President Joko Widodo even said Indonesia needs stricter rule in order to face COVID-19.

    Finally, if we follow simple statistic like what Pareto have said, 20% are responsible for the rest 80%. Hence, if 20% were for readiness to combating the virus resulting in 80% chance of flattening the curve. Then, if 20% were responsible for unpreparedness resulting 80% chance of fatality and keeping the curve in conclave state. Therefore, Indonesia follows the second 20-80 schemes instead of the first 20-80 stakes that S.Korea took.

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