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Volunteer army in Indonesia helps fight coronavirus with data, web

Selasa, 26 Mei 2020 / 11:04 WIB
Volunteer army in Indonesia helps fight coronavirus with data, web
ILUSTRASI. Warga melihat peta peyebaran kasus COVID-19 melalui ponsel pada laman radarcovid19.jatimprov.go.id di Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Kamis (21/5/2020). Berdasarkan data dari Gugus Tugas Nasional COVID-19 pada Kamis 21 Mei 2020, penambahan pasien COVID-19 di Jawa T

Sumber: Reuters | Editor: Yudho Winarto

KONTAN.CO.ID - ​​JAKARTA. As Indonesia's most populous province weighed tough movement restrictions to stop the new coronavirus, it turned to a loosely-knit volunteer group of data scientists and health experts.

The Kawal COVID-19 (Guard against COVID-19) group organized a data model presented to the provincial governor that showed there could be 70,000 deaths by July in West Java if no restrictions were imposed compared with only 20,000 if it took tough action.

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"They were keen to provide help and we accepted it," said Ridwansyah Yusuf Achmad, an adviser to the West Java governor who organised the online meetings with Kawal volunteers and praised the group as patriotic for donating its expertise.

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He, and other West Java officials, said the modelling from Kawal had swung the argument.

In the face of patchy data and conflicting advice from Indonesia's central government over measures to fight coronavirus, Kawal's 800 volunteers have emerged as an increasingly important source of information and guidance.

President Joko Widodo's government has been reluctant to impose travel bans and other measures that could damage the economy in the world's fourth-most populous country, a 5,000-km (3,100-mile) wide archipelago.

Kawal has set out a clear argument for tougher action in the Southeast Asian country with the biggest death toll in the region by far.

Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia who is part of Kawal, presented the data to officials in West Java, home to over 50 million of Indonesia's 270 million people.