Talking Indonesia: the Covid-19 emergency

Covid-19 is spreading fast in Indonesia and the government seems overwhelmed by the monumental task of combating the virus. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered social distancing measures, but there’s been much confusion about what exactly that means. The situation is further complicated by disagreements and a lack of coordination between the central government and local administrations, many of whom are pushing for stricter measures.


Why has the Indonesian response been so ineffective? How can disagreements between the national and local governments be resolved? And what is the likely trajectory of the virus in view of the upcoming Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, when many Indonesians normally travel to their home villages?


In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dirk Tomsa discusses these and other questions with Dr Riris Andono Ahmad from the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Population Health at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta.


In 2020, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University and the Australia-Indonesia Centre, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Muhammad Adimaja for Antara.


Dirk Tomsa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy at La Trobe University.