Indonesia – population 270 million – has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia. According to government data, 80% of cases are amongst the working population.
While schools and some offices were closed for almost a year, the government has resisted putting strict lockdowns in place, fearing the impact on the economy. Over half the population works in the informal sector, so for many, working from home isn’t an option.
The country’s new health minister defended the government’s strategy to inoculate younger working people aged 18 to 59 after frontline workers and insists it is not just about the economy but about “protecting people and targeting first those who are likely to get it and spread it.”
The minister said, “We are focusing on people who have to meet lots of people as part of their work; motorbike taxi, police, military. So, I don’t want people to think this is about just the economy. This is about protecting people.”