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In Jakarta, doctors are dying, while common people do not know which data to believe, anymore. It appears that even some government officials do not trust government statistics.
People in the slums are attacking ambulances, preventing patients infected with COVID-19 from being taken to hospitals. The novel coronavirus is a stigma. Tests are resisted, death certificates falsified. Social distancing, even basing norms of it, is ignored.
At the beginning of the pandemic, for weeks, the Indonesian government was pretending that there is no problem whatsoever, insisting that number of cases was zero, thanks to prayers and divine intervention.
While talking about God and prayers, the President was advising to drink traditional herbal medicine as prevention. Well, at least he was not pitching detergent or disinfectant, for oral consumption.
In February, after I finished filming in Borneo (Indonesian part of the third largest island on earth where it is called Kalimantan), my Garuda Indonesia flight from Pontianak to Jakarta was full of people coughing, apparently sick; very sick. While other countries in the region were already measuring temperature and introducing comprehensive measures to curtail the pandemic, Indonesia was shockingly but determinately doing absolutely nothing.
As always, in the fourth most populous country on Earth, there was no budget, no willingness, no enthusiasm, and zero know-how how to tackle the emergency.
It goes without saying that even without pandemic, the entire country is one huge health hazard. It has one of the lowest numbers of beds and doctors per thousand citizens, anywhere on Earth.
Since the 1965 U.S.-sponsored coup, Indonesia has been in turbo-capitalist mode, neglecting everything public, from sanitation to garbage collection, but especially education and health. "If it does not bring profits right away, then why to bother dealing with it", could be the regime's motto. Quite the opposite of what could be observed in two socialist super-stars: China and Vietnam.
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