Jakarta (ANTARA) - People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Chairman Bambang Soesatyo has called on the government to focus on the basic needs and survival of groups of people vulnerable to COVID-19 exposure.

These vulnerable groups are specifically workers in the field of public healthcare services, such as doctors and nurses; workers in the informal sector, SMEs, traders, among others; workers offering services, including drivers of public transportation, online motorbike taxis, and officers at the terminal; production workers; and freelance workers, such as arts workers, photographers, and journalists.

"We are encouraging the government to give much needed attention to the basic needs and survival of several of these vulnerable groups by implementing policies that do not harm the interests of certain parties," Soesatyo noted in a statement here on Tuesday.

The MPR chairman deemed that the policy was necessary since most of the vulnerable groups were at risk of losing their source of income owing to practicing social distancing and physical distancing policies aimed at preventing the transmission of COVID-19.

On the other hand, social distancing and physical distancing policies also have a negative impact since they can kill jobs that depend on social interaction.

Soesatyo also encouraged the government, specifically the Ministry of Health, to ensure the availability of adequate protective equipment for all medical personnel and paramedics on duty.

"I also convey to the government to allocate a budget to increase the production of protective equipment," he stated.

Soesatyo also called on the government to immediately implement an economic stimulus policy to revive the economy of the people whose incomes have nosedived or also stopped due to the imposition of social restrictions.

The MPR chairman believes the stimulus can be offered by providing additional economic assistance, such as cash and basic necessities.

"Encouraging the government to ensure work safety and security guarantees for workers in services, such as transportation services, goods delivery services, and expertise services, which are one of the groups vulnerable to being exposed to COVID-19," he stated.

Soesatyo also urged the government, especially the Ministry of Industry, to pay serious attention to aspects of occupational health and safety (K3) for factory workers, not merely in the form of providing masks or hand sanitizers but also adequate self-protection equipment and safety assurance at work.

Soesatyo also appealed to the government to engineer several concrete efforts, so that the community members can practice social distancing and physical distancing without it threatening their main livelihoods. Related news: MPR supports government's plan to announce territorial quarantine
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Reporter: Imam B, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Suharto
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