Jakarta (ANTARA) - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati here, today, ordered local governments to allocate health budgets in response to the novel-coronavirus (COVID-19), aimed at disease control and prevention.

The order stipulated in Finance Minister's Decree No.19 / PMK / 2020 on the 2020 budget for the COVID-19 control and prevention, came into effect since Monday (March 16) and will be valid until September 2020.

Following the minister's decree, the local governments must spare some part of their general allocation funds (DAU), obtained from the 2020 state budget, for disease prevention. The ministry affirmed it would impose stringent sanctions on the local governments in the event of them failing to abide by the order.

"The ministry will withdraw the 2020 general allocation funds for stage I and stage II for public health services, and they will be granted to local governments on March or no later than June this year," the minister's decree noted in the article 4.

Apart from the general allocation funds, the ministry will also utilize the revenue sharing funds (DBH) of tobacco, natural resources (except forest resources), as well as oil and gas, for the COVID-19 control and prevention measures. It will also utilize the special allocation funds (DID) for disease prevention, the minister's decree stated.

The ministry imposed a strict fiscal measure to curb the virus infection, as the number of patients testing positive for COVID-19 has rapidly increased in the past week. On Tuesday (March 17), a total 172 patients are confirmed to have been infected by COVID-19, a government spokesman for the handling of COVID-19, Achmad Yurianto noted at a press conference in Jakarta.

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Translator: Astrid F H/Genta Tenri Mawangi
Editor: Sri Haryati
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