Crowd greets Joko Widodo in NTT, buzz on social media as Covid-19 surges

Published on Feb 24, 2021 02:33 PM IST

Indonesia has some of the worst virus infection rates in Asia, and President Joko Widodo has been widely criticised over his government's handling of the pandemic. On Tuesday, Indonesia recorded 9,775 new cases of Covid-19, which pushed the countrywide tally to 1,298,608.

File photo of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.(Reuters)
File photo of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.(Reuters)
By | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi

Indonesian president Joko Widodo is at the centre of a storm after appearing in public at a time when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is ravaging through the country.

The President visited East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the southernmost province of Indonesia, where the crowd gathered around his car to greet him. Many local television stations showed images of President Widodo waving to the crowd from the roof of the car.

The images soon spread on the social media, with many critics of the president questioning his appearance in public and putting the lives of the locals at risk.


Widodo and his supporters were seen wearing masks in the video, but the lack of social distancing is being criticised by many. The president was in the province to inaugurate a dam. He was the first person to be inoculated in Indonesia in January.

The pandemic has slammed Southeast Asia's biggest economy, with Indonesia witnessing its first annual contraction since the 1998 Asian financial crisis. The regional currency crisis had forced the resignation of its long-term dictator Suharto in 1998.

The country's gross domestic product fell down 2.07 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, the country's statistics agency said. Transportation and Tourism are among the hardest-hit sectors.

The country has some of the worst virus infection rates in Asia, and President Joko Widodo has been widely criticised over his government's handling of the pandemic.

Several million Indonesians have been laid off as the central bank repeatedly cut interest rates in a bid to spur growth.

On Tuesday, Indonesia recorded 9,775 new cases of Covid-19, which pushed the countrywide tally to 1,298,608. The death toll too increased by 323 to 35,014, the health ministry said.

The virus has spread to all the country's 34 provinces.

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