Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, distributed 80 relief packages to Indonesian nationals in the second phase of an aid program to assist those affected by the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The aid packages, containing several items of staple food, including rice, cooking oil, canned food, biscuits, and instant noodles, were distributed on May 12-13, 2020, the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra said in a press statement on Thursday.

The first phase of the relief program was conducted from April 16 to April 22.

The aid program is aimed at helping Indonesians stay strong in the face of an uncertain future amid the Australian Government's imposition of social restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The imposition of the social restrictions has led to shutting of schools, restaurants, cafes, fitness centers, and many other public facilities in Australia. The situation has also affected the lives of community members, including those working in the service sector.

Those who have lost their jobs are trying to survive by relying on their savings or on assistance from their colleagues and families, the embassy revealed.

According to the Indonesian Embassy, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his plan to relax the social restrictions gradually amid an improving trend in the country's COVID-19 cases.

The Indonesian Embassy's aid program was initiated to help Indonesians who have lost their jobs, and students and their families.

The move by the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra resonates with calls for mutual cooperation echoed earlier by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

In a recent statement, President Jokowi had highlighted the importance of fostering the spirit of "gotong royong", or mutual cooperation, arguing that the government cannot work alone to fight the spread of COVID-19.

"The entire nation's participation is indispensable," President Jokowi reiterated in a video statement..

"The caring-and-sharing movement must be made public. This is not aimed at showing off, but at keeping hope alive, and inspiring others to do the same good deeds," he noted.

The coronavirus disease initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Since then, it has spread to at least 202 countries and territories, including Australia and Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll. (INE)

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Translator: Yuni AS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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