Effects of COVID-19 restriction measures in Indonesia: A comparative spatial and policy analysis of selected urban agglomerations

Int J Disaster Risk Reduct. 2022 Jun 15:76:103015. doi: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103015. Epub 2022 May 14.


With higher densities, urban agglomerations account for the fastest rates of COVID-19 transmission. In Indonesia, one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world, the national government issues overall policy on the pandemic. However, implementation is often contingent on local governments. Many policies aim to stem the spread of infection by controlling people's mobility or regulating their daily activities. Urban agglomerations are a strategic site of investigation in this light, because they consist of interconnected communities governed by various levels and jurisdictions. This paper analyzes the effects of policy interventions relative to confirmed cases in the seven major urban agglomerations in Indonesia (totaling 30 municipal/district governments). Data were collected from confirmed and fatality trends from March to mid-October 2020, which were contrasted with corresponding policies for each jurisdiction. By sorting the indicators of the spread of the pandemic and its corresponding control measures, we reach conclusions about which dimensions served to curb or trigger the surge of COVID-19 clusters. The analysis unsurprisingly shows that within each agglomeration, the main cities continue to represent the highest number of confirmed cases despite variations between them. This study also highlights two key findings. First, the effectiveness of distancing measures depends considerably on the capacity of governments to implement restrictions. For example, budget limitations resulted in uneven implementation of national mandates by decentralized authority. Facilities and services at different locations also influence our understanding of disease transmission. Second, people's ability and willingness to engage with a policy regime is contingent upon personal values or economic constraints. The study shows that viewing the spatial distribution of COVID-19 at the scale of urban agglomerations helps to explain key aspects of transmission and policy, pointing to recommendations about pursuing certain protocols. Nevertheless, key challenges remain to meet the full potential of this analytical approach, due to relatively low levels of testing and inadequate data collection measures in Indonesia.

Keywords: COVID-19 policy analysis; Indonesia; Urban agglomerations.