Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has spread to 34 provinces and killed at least 399 people in Indonesia, a national disaster.

President Jokowi has accorded national disaster status to the ongoing pandemic in a letter (number 12/2020) dated on 13 April, 2020, which highlights several points, including the appointment of head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Doni Monardo, to lead the COVID-19 task force.

The Task Force for the Accelerated Handling of COVID-19 will work on mitigating the impact of the pandemic through coordinated effort with the concerned ministries, government agencies, and regional administrations.

The letter has also named governors, district heads, and city mayors as the heads of the COVID-19 task forces in their respective regions. While drawing up regional policies, they will be required to refer to the policies formulated by the central government.

The national disaster status implies that in the phase of emergency response, the BNPB will use the budget allocated to it by the government.

As of Monday, Indonesia has reported 4,557 confirmed cases. While the death toll from the contagion has reached 399, a total of 380 patients have completely recovered from the infection and discharged from hospital.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported across all 34 provinces of Indonesia, with Jakarta serving as the main hotspot of the pandemic, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December, 2019 and then spread to other countries and territories all over the world.

Some business sectors in Indonesia have borne the brunt of the current outbreak.

The tourism industry in the Indonesian resort island of Bali, for instance, has been majorly impacted, with domestic and foreign tourist arrivals nosediving over the past few months.

Bali's tourism industry has suffered a huge blow, not just on account of the global pandemic, but also travel restrictions currently imposed in Indonesia, Putu Astawa, head of the Bali Provincial Government's Tourism Office I, noted on April 4.

As a result of a decline in the number of visitors, occupancy rates at several hotels on the resort island have dipped.

According to the Worldometers website, at least 1,866,510 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported across the world as of Monday, with the number of fatalities reaching 115,257. As many as 433,942 patients have so far recovered from the virus. (INE)

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Translator: Desca LN, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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