Working Paper

Working Paper

[ADRN Working Paper] Pandemic Crisis and Democratic Governance: Indonesia’s Experience to Conquer COVID 19 Pandemic

  • 2021-04-13
  • Sri Nuryanti

ISBN  979-11-6617-113-0 95340

Editor’s note

Responding to a national crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, entails an important challenge – how can policymakers ensure that policies guarantee the safety, health, and political rights of their citizens? While Indonesia’s early response to the COVID-19 pandemic entailed economic sacrifices and several repercussions, the government was able to overcome such challenges through its implementation of comprehensive policies encompassing public health, financial aid, and economic recovery plans. Sri Nuryanti, a researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, explains how the Indonesian government’s successful initiatives, containing the COVID-19 pandemic with the least number of economic repercussions, led to higher level of trust and societal compliance. In this regard, the Indonesian government was not only able to curb the spread of COVID-19 through the implementation of task forces but also conjured economic recovery plans and provided aid and other types of assistance to minimize financial consequences. On top of that, national elections were held with strict health protocols, safeguarding citizens’ political rights. 



※ The following are excerpts from the article. For the full text, please check the attached file at the top of this page.




The first Indonesian citizen affected by the coronavirus was reported on March 2, 2020. During the early stage of the pandemic, people thought that the virus would fade away naturally with time. Therefore, Indonesia was already mid-pandemic when policies were applied to contain COVID-19. In the very beginning, Indonesia’s policies consisted of evacuating the Indonesian citizens from Wuhan, China and designating specific hospitals in Galang Island (Riau Islands province) to only treat COVID-19 patients. Hospitals also offered services to act as a facility to observe quarantine and shelter patients to control the spread of COVID-19 on Galang Island. New facilities that could hold 1,000 beds were also constructed and ready to use by April 6, 2020.[2]

The policy above shows that the Indonesian government tried to counter the spread of the virus by treating the affected patients on a secluded island. Furthermore, the Indonesian government established a special team to accelerate the efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus under the coordination of the BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana/ Indonesia National Board for Disaster Management). As creating a coordinated COVID-19 response between the government, ministerial departments, and other stakeholders was complicated and as new policy dilemmas emerged, maximizing efforts to control the pandemic was found to be challenging.[3]

Bloomberg, a private financial, software, data, and media company based in the US, launched a report called the “Covid Resilience Ranking.” This report follows the development of the COVID-19 responses, fatality rate, number of infected cases and PCR tests completed for various countries. Reports are released every month, taking into account the social and economic disruptions. The report also gives an overview of the capacity of local health care systems, the impact of virus-related restrictions, and other COVID-19 related issues. From the Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking, the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries can be observed. This research utilized data that was published on December 2020.[4]


Figure 1. Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking

Source: Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking (December 20, 2020) [5]


The Bloomberg resilience score indicates the resilience of the country, the higher the score, the higher the resilience. The Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking is a compilation of many datasets, indicators, and indexes that is based on three fundamental criteria: the comprehensiveness of the data, the recentness of the data, and the reputation of the data collectors. Therefore, the Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking is very useful in comparing the situation of the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the data above, it is evident that democratic countries tend to have poorer performances compared with authoritarian countries. The US and India recorded low performances compared to authoritarian countries such as China and Vietnam which successfully combated the spread of the coronavirus. Hence, the question of whether democratic values are suitable for coping with the pandemic has been raised. Substantial evidence states that succeeding in containing COVID-19 with the least amount of disruption could lead to the development of high levels of trust and societal compliance. However, it is also important to note that the impact of the pandemic and the response of countries have been found to have a significant impact on the national economy. Indonesia, like other countries, is also facing common challenges. Therefore this study aims to form an explanation for the following research questions: 1) What are the challenges faced by Indonesia?; 2) What are the responses of the Public and Private Sector?; 3) How did COVID-19 change the behavior of the people?; 4) How did the COVID-19 Pandemic impact domestic and foreign policy? ■



[1] Throughout the year, ADRN members will publish a total of three versions of the Pandemic Crisis and Democratic Governance in Asia Research to include any changes and updates in order to present timely information. The first and second parts will be publicized as a working paper and the third will be publicized as a special report. This working paper is part I of the research project.

[2]  Chandra Gian Asmara, “RS Galang untuk Covid-19 Beroperasi, Intip Fasilitasnya!” [Galang Hospital for Covid-19 Operates, Peek at the Facilities!], CNBC Indonesia, April 08 2020, (accessed in 21 December 2020).

[3] Agus Wibowo, “Arahan dan Strategi Ketua Gagus Tugas Penanganan Covid-19 untuk Pemerintah Daerah” [Directions and Strategies of the Chai of the Covid-19 Handling Task Force for Regional Governments], Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana, March 17 2020, (accessed in 21 December 2020).,daerah%20untuk%20menerapkan%20beberapa%20poin. (

[4] Jinshan Hong, Rachel Chang and Kevin Varley, “Best and Worst Places to Be in Covid: Vaccine Not Slowing Deaths,” Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking, December 20, 2020, (accessed on January 11th, 2021 at 10.35) .

[5] Jinshan Hong, Rachel Chang and Kevin Varley, “Best and Worst Places to Be in Covid: Vaccine Not Slowing Deaths,” Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking, December 20, 2020, (accessed on January 11th, 2021 at 10.35) .



  • Sri Nuryanti is currently researcher at the Research Center for Politics at Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). She is the former Election Commissioner of the Indonesian General Election Commission 2007-2012, where she successfully oversaw the Parliamentary election and Presidential election 2009, as well as local elections from 2007-2012. She is an active participant in various academic activities at the national as well as the international level. She is a council member of APPRA (Asia Pacific Peace Research Association) and IPRA (International Peace Research Association). She is also currently appointed as the Director in charge of the Electoral Research Institute (ERI).
  • Typeset by Jinkyung Baek, Director of the Research Department
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