The decline may reach up to 44 percent
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) forecast on Tuesday a significant socio-economic impact of the ongoing global pandemic of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on drivers of ojek (motorcycle taxi) and angkot (public minivans) in North Sumatra.

"The decline may reach up to 44 percent," he stated during a videoconference held at the Merdeka Palace here to issue directives to the governors to handle the impact of COVID-19 on the people's socio-economic lives.

The government has drafted scenarios to address the impact of the COVID-19. To this end, the regional administrations are also requested to calculate the possible decline owing to the impact of this virus pandemic, President Jokowi stated.

In dealing with this situation, the provincial and district/city administrations are expected to be prepared to disburse social assistance to their people to help maintain their purchasing power, he remarked.

The president has also instructed government officials to continue to disseminate information, including on preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, such as spraying disinfectant fluid and maintaining recommended physical distancing from those around.

In facing the impact of this ongoing virus pandemic, President Jokowi had hinted at the government's readiness to tackle the economic slowdown.

"The global economy is projected to decline, from three percent to 1.5 percent or lower than that," he told his cabinet members during a teleconference meeting to discuss monetary and fiscal policies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 20.

The global economic slowdown amid this virus outbreak might also impact Indonesia's economy whose growth rate was earlier forecast at between five and 5.4 percent this year.

On Tuesday morning, the rupiah exchange rate was traded at Rp16,505 per US dollar.

COVID-19, which initially struck in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December 2019, has killed at least 16,558 people and infected no less than 381,653 people in 195 countries and territories worldwide, according to media reports.

In Indonesia, the virus has infected at least 579 people and claimed 49 lives, while 30 others have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.

Taking into account the rising death toll and the spread of this virus, the WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.


Translator: Hanni S, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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