Compared to other countries (especially when compared to the United States, Italy, China, or Spain) the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities are actually quite low in Indonesia (so far). Most likely, the relatively low number of confirmed infections and deaths in Indonesia is because the country has limited testing equipment. Therefore, we assume that it are mostly severe cases (when people visit the hospital because they have difficulty breathing or high fever) that are tested. This would also explain why Indonesia has a relatively high fatality rate.

But considering the Ramadan month and Idul Fitri celebrations (that mark the end of the fasting month) are around the corner, there is concern that the virus may spread wider, unless the government will impose restrictions on the movement of people.

In the context of the Idul Fitri period (a week-long national holiday) millions of city dwellers typically travel back to their places of origin for a few days. This is a tradition that is locally known as mudik. However, considering Jakarta is the national epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, it could deepen the crisis when young, infected people (who may show no symptoms at all) visit their parents and other family in the regions, thereby infecting them.


This article discusses the following:

• Why does Indonesia have relatively few confirmed COVID-19 infections and fatalities? Could the official data be inaccurate?

• What is the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Indonesian economy and society? Will it cause a deep recession in (at least) the first half of the year? Which sectors are particularly affected?

• Can Indonesian authorities handle the situation?

• What are the policy measures that have been imposed (or announced) by Indonesian authorities in an effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19 across the country?

This article is part of the March 2020 update. To purchase the report, please send an email to or a WA text message to +62(0)8788.410.6944 for further information.

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