The pandemic of Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 19 significantly influences implementations of programmes of SEAMEO Centres. During the first Inter-Centre Collaboration Meeting (ICCM) held at SEAMEO BIOTROP, Bogor on 24-25 February 2020, the Centres informed the meeting about the cancellation of regional trainings due to travel warning regulation in the Southeast Asian countries. Finally, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, pointing to the over 118,000 cases of the coronavirus illness in over 110 countries and territories around the world and the sustained risk of further global spread (https://time.com/5791661/who-coronavirus-pandemic-declaration/). On 12 March 2020, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia issued a letter No. 35492/A.A5/HK/2020 to request all institutions under the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia to postpone all events that invite participants from outside the region until the COVID 19 issue subsided.
Through a letter No. 36603/A.A5/OT/2020, dated 15 March 2020, on spread prevention of COVID-19, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia required all institutions under the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia to take actions, including conduct Work-From-Home (WFH) policy for the staff. The regulation shall be applied starting from 16 March 2020. The WFH policy was also supported by the letter of SEAMEO Secretariat, reference No. 12.401/272/20, dated 16 March 2020 on the update on COVID-19 SEAMEO Secretariat Response and Strategy.
Following the letters of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia and SEAMEO Secretariat, SEAMEO BIOTROP Director issued a letter No. 783/S.Edaran/III/2020 dated 16 March 2020 on regulation to prevent COVID-19 spread in SEAMEO BIOTROP. The letter included the instruction for the staff to conduct WFH started from 17 to 27 March 2020. However, during the said period, alternately, two managers will have to work at the office from 09.00 – 14.00 hours. The Centre also provided vehicles to pick up and send off the managers and staff who have to come to the office. Except the face-to-face trainings activities, seminars and workshops, the Centre’s still provided administrative services and activities through online communication, by implementing online meetings. Other than face-to-face trainings and other learning activities, The Centre has also decided to postpone or cancel the reception of external visitors, as well as scientific visit and internship programme for students.
Concerning the severe global issue on COVID 19 and referring to the Decree of the Head of National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) No. 13 A/ 2020 on the extension of disaster emergency status caused by the COVID-19 in Indonesia, through the letter No. 829/S.Edaran/III/2020, dated 27 March 2020, the Centre Director extended the regulation of WFH until 9 April 2020.