The Indonesian government’s response to Covid-19 has been widely perceived as inadequate. The country’s testing rate has been very low, sparking concerns that many Covid-19 fatalities have gone undetected. But even so, its official death toll of 647 is the highest in East Asia outside of China.


The government waited almost a month after acknowledging its first case to declare a health emergency. It was only on 21 April that the government issued a ban on mudik – where tens of millions of Indonesians living in major cities go home to rural areas at the end of Islamic fasting month, potentially taking Covid-19 with them. But with the fasting month starting today, many Indonesians have already gone home.


What considerations have informed the government’s response to Covid-19? What challenges does it face, and does the crisis threaten the government’s legitimacy?


In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues with Dr Yanuar Nugroho, former deputy chief of staff to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during the president’s first term, and a member of the Indonesian Young Academy of Sciences (ALMI). Dr Nugroho is also a visiting senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester, and a senior advisor to the Centre for Innovation Policy and Governance in Jakarta.


The Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University, and Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the 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 Agung Rajasa for Antara.


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