Jakarta (ANTARA) - The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that has infected at least 117 people in several Indonesian cities might hinder the convening of 2020 regional elections, scheduled simultaneously in 270 regions on Sept 28, a legislator stated.

"The House urges the government to review the convening of this year's simultaneous regional elections amid our ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak," Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Sufmi Dasco Ahmad stated here on Monday.

As of Sunday, the number of COVID-19 patients in Indonesia had reached at least 117 as the virus has spread to several regions, including Jakarta, Bandung, Tangerang, Solo, Yogyakarta, Bali, Manado, and Pontianak.

The review will help to establish whether to proceed with this year's simultaneous regional elections as scheduled by taking into account the spread of COVID-19 that the WHO has recently declared as a global pandemic, he explained.

If the related ministries and government agencies as well as the General Election Commission (KPU) and Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) go ahead with the scheduled convening of the elections, he suggested to apply certain mechanisms.

Ahmad reiterated the significance of preparing a model of political campaigns on social media platforms and disseminating ideas, programs, and political pledges through mainstream and news media to avoid mass gatherings.

"In this digital era, it is possible to implement a model of political campaigns without mobilizing people in order to attend mass rallies," he stated.

A total of 270 regions in Indonesia, comprising nine provinces, 224 districts, and 37 cities, will hold regional elections on September 23, 2020.

Indonesia has become one of the countries whose citizens have contracted COVID-19. The Indonesian authorities have also declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak as a national disaster.

The death toll from the virus has reached five, while eight COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals, and seven others are expected to recover soon.

On Saturday evening, the Indonesian government confirmed that Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi had tested positive for COVID-19, and he is currently undergoing treatment at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital, Jakarta.

Sumadi, the 76th COVID-19 patient in Indonesia, is a minister in the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin administration and has persistently been on the frontline in the government's handling of this virus, Minister of State Secretary Pratikno stated.

While Sumadi receives hospital treatment, President Widodo has assigned Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to serve as the ad interim transportation minister, he noted. Related news: 270 regions ready to implement regional head elections : KPU
Related news: Home ministry invites universities for evaluation of local elections


Translator: Imam B, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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