There has been much debate about the extent to which different countries’ responses to and effectiveness in handling Covid-19 has impacted their global standing. But Indonesian perceptions of how other countries handled the pandemic do not seem closely correlated to the different approaches that countries have taken. Respondents rated Indonesia’s response the highest, with 83% saying that their country has managed Covid-19 ‘very well’ or ‘fairly well’. Singapore, which has maintained tight border and social restrictions throughout much of the pandemic, receives similarly high praise with 82% saying the country has done well. Around eight in ten Indonesians say the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia have handled the pandemic well, even though these countries have taken divergent approaches to border controls and lockdowns. Fewer Indonesians (69%) say China has handled things well, while they regard India as having performed worst, at 54%.

Covid-19 handling by country
Overall, how well or badly do you think each of the following countries has handled the Covid-19 outbreak so far?

0%20%40%60%80%100% 3251Indonesia 2557Singapore 2059Malaysia 2158Australia 2356UK 2453US 2049China 1242India
  • Very well
  • Fairly well

As in other countries, there are conspiracy theories and misinformation swirling around social media in Indonesia about the causes of the Covid-19 pandemic. Globally, certain Chinese officials and state media outlets have tried to promote disinformation that suggests the pandemic originated from a laboratory leak in the United States. The US government, for its part, has investigated whether Covid-19 originated from a laboratory leak in China, but has not found conclusive evidence of the origins of the pandemic. Overall, very few Indonesians believe the lab leak theory, although 11.6% say that a lab leak in China is the most likely cause of the pandemic, compared to just 0.2% who believe that it came from a US lab leak.

More Indonesians (37%) see Covid-19 as an act of God, while 22% say it comes from human contact with an infected animal. A small fraction of Indonesians (8%) say the pandemic originated domestically in Indonesia. Around one in five (19%) say they do not know the source of the pandemic.

Source of Covid-19 pandemic
From what you have seen or heard, which of the following do you think is the most likely cause of the Covid-19 pandemic?

An act of God


Human contact with an infected animal


A laboratory leak in a foreign country*


A domestic problem or issue


Don’t know

* When asked to nominate which country, 11.7% of respondents say China, whereas 0.2% say the United States.