Indonesia is currently becoming Asia’s new epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, with daily infections for yesterday (July 13, 2021) almost 48,000 cases and the government warning that the worst is yet to come as testing and tracing are increasing and the delta variant is spreading outside Java and Bali.
How do you feel when you hear news about covid in Indonesia? Maybe as we are hear covid outbreak in India last month. How does it feel to live in a country with a low performance in handling covid, especially in a very bad situation due to high covid cases like now?
We are in Indonesia life with Covid since last year but last month and this month is the worst. Many neighbors around us have been confirmed positive for Covid. There is an announcement from the mosque about the death of our of neighbor, almost everyday. Sometimes not only one, but two or three in single day.
Those who are confirmed positive for Covid are more likely to self-quarantine, because the hospital is full and going to the hospital may not the best option, except for emergency conditions. In fact, even for emergency conditions it is very hard to be treated at the hospital due to high bed occupancy rate (BOR) on each hospital.
We also rarely go to the mall or supermarket to fulfill our daily or monthly household needs. Most of our daily necessities are bought from sellers nearby, including vegetables, fruit and meals. Others are bought using online store, including clothes, tools, cake, supplement and medical items.
We are in big cities (Jakarta and surrounding cities-Bekasi, Bogor, Tangerang, Karawang-Bandung, Surabaya, etc) are more dependent on delivery services, both to order food and to deliver goods. Go-food, Grabfood, Halodoc, Tokopedia, Bukalapak, Shopee etc are some service providers that we often use.
Life in the countryside and suburbs is more relaxed and less stressful, but with so many positive confirmed cases, life isn’t really that good either. Most residents choose to hide their positive cases for various reasons, including fear of stress from being exposed to COVID, not having money for treatment and fear of being shunned by neighbors because they are exposed to infectious diseases. This is actually dangerous and becomes an iceberg phenomenon, if it explodes will further worsen the situation.
Accomodation & Transportation
Last year we still had the courage to go on vacation outside the city, although we also chose a vacation location in the mountains (villa or bungalow or glamping-glamour camping) away from the crowds. We also had time to stay at the hotel as a refreshing distraction because we had been confined at home for a long time. This year, I cancel all booking reservation and just go on vacation to our own banana farm.
My family and I never uses public transportation such as planes and trains, if we travel we choose to use our own vehicle. I still had many colleagues who are using public transportation as they have limited option to go to work place.
Since the implementation of emergency public activity restriction (PPKM Darurat), it is very difficult to travel inside and outside the city. You will need a special permit (called STRP, Surat Tanda Registrasi Pekerja or Worker Registration Certificate) to travel to Jakarta from Bekasi. You must also have a vaccine certificate and a PCR/antigen swab with a negative status to be able to travel out of the city.
The government is trying to suppress human movement as much as possible and force residents not to leave their homes except for emergency needs. in my situation, I support the government policy for the good of myself, my family, our society and for supporting the government goal in general.
Deal with Situation
What is the best option for us to face this situation? The best option is that we should depending on ourselves and and don’t expect too much to the government. Note that I do not undermine what the government has done and will do to deal with the Covid outbreak. As we are aware the government has difficulties in handling Covid, it might be very dangerous if we depend on the government capability to treat our need as on developed countries.
With current total population is 276 million in July 2021 and tight budget, the government will need to choose which part of population need to be prioritized.
My family and I may be lucky, because we have an emergency fund and a medical budget to accommodate self-testing, buy medicine and pay for self-care needs. We also have reserve funds to buy basic necessities, supplements and other necessities. I am also still able to run my IT and agriculture business, although it is not easy right now because our clients are also experiencing financial challenges.
I use this advantage to help my family and community around us. I make sure that all the employees who work in my small company are always safe for their salary and monthly income, because many of them are the backbone of their family. I also ensure that our small company guarantees the treatment of employees who are exposed to COVID, both for consultations with doctors, purchasing drugs and supplements as well as for medical treatment.
I also encourage all employee and their families to be vaccinated and provide daily brief about benefit of vaccination and health protocols implementation to prevent covid or other diseases. Many people, especially those with little education or those who live in rural or suburban areas, hesitate to get vaccinated for various reasons, mainly because they are afraid that getting vaccinated will harm their health.
I share agricultural products (rice, fruit, vegetables) to my neighbors and community around us. It’s very sad to see so many families who don’t even have money to buy basic necessities like rice.
I have a small foundation, called the Ultima Insani Madania Foundation which is engaged in education, health and community empowerment. Before Covid spread in many places in Indonesia, I had prepared stocks of basic necessities (rice) and basic health needs including oxygen cylinders for medical use. It helps us amid oxygen shortages in Indonesia, even if only a few oxygen cylinder are available.
Living in the pandemic era, in an underprivileged country like Indonesia teaches us-who have the advantage-to open our hearts and help those in need, even if it is limited to what we have.