Jakarta (ANTARA) - Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) Executive Director Tauhid Ahmad believes that the social distancing measure applied by Indonesia’s government is a better alternative to a lockdown since the economy is not affected.

"Social distancing can still help to drive the economy. Social distancing still allows the flow of goods and services and gives the community access to various economic activities by maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters," Ahmad stated when contacted by ANTARA here on Wednesday.

He highlighted that the difference between social distancing and lockdown wherein the former means reducing the frequency of activities outdoors and interactions with others, including by avoiding public places, malls, theaters, and joint sports activities.

However, a lockdown can cause Indonesia to plunge into an economic crisis, he pointed out.

"As a consequence of the lockdown, we could reel from an economic crisis wherein economic growth would drop below four percent or even worse," the Indef director cautioned.

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Ahmad cited as an example Jakarta, which is the country's financial services hub and contributing 45 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) and the center of corporate services, had also contributed 68 percent to GDP. If the capital city were to impose a lockdown, the impact on the national economy would be wide-ranging.

"I think that the social distancing approach is better than the lockdown for now, but the implementation must be supported and applied by the community through greater awareness," Ahmad affirmed.

Earlier, Indonesian President Joko Widodo highlighted that social distancing or maintaining a distance between oneself and other people was the most crucial practice to follow amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The president remarked that under the current circumstances, work from home, study from home, and worship at home had emerged as the most pertinent options. The head of state also invited the people to work together, help one another, and unite to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Translator: Aji Cakti, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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