Rabu, 19 Februari 2020

Indonesia diverts attention to domestic tourists over coronavirus by Fardah

Jakarta, Feb 19, 2020 (ANTARA) - Several tourist resorts and parks in the Lagoi integrated and exclusive tourist area on Bintan Island, Riau Islands Province, have ceased operations following the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in China and 28 other countries.

Since January 23, 2020, the number of Chinese tourists on the island fell 100 percent after their government issued a travel advisory to the citizens over the coronavirus.

Not only in Bintan, but thousands of foreign tourists, mostly Chinese, canceled room reservations in and flight to Bali, North Sulawesi, and others, over the coronavirus outbreak, although Indonesia has, so far, remained free from coronavirus cases.

In fact, tourism industry around the globe has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak originating in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Official figures indicated that Chinese visitors accounted for 150 million overseas trips in 2019, while Chinese tourists spent $130 billion overseas in 2018, up 13 percent from the previous year, according to data of the China Tourism Academy.

Indonesia received 1.97 million Chinese tourists in 2017, and the figure increased to 2.7 million Chinese tourists in 2018. The Tourism Ministry had set a target to attract 3.5 million Chinese last year, but the realization reached 2.07 million owing to natural disasters and the impacts of the US-China trade war.

The Indonesian Tourism Ministry has forecast that the current onslaught of the coronavirus may inflict potential losses of US$2.8 billion on Indonesia’s tourism.

Selasa, 18 Februari 2020

Indonesia plans medical center for disease control by Fardah

Jakarta , Feb 18 , 2020 (ANTARA) - It was a happy February 15, 2020 for 243 Indonesian citizens (WNI), who returned to their families after being in quarantine since February 2 inside Indonesia’s military facility on Natuna Island, Riau Islands Province. The 243 people were quarantined after being evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Of the total, 238 were evacuees, mostly Indonesian students, while the rest were members of the evacuation team and flight crew.

"Hence, take care of your health, keep exercising a bit, and just keep moving. Ensure sufficient nutritional intake to stay healthy. Do not forget to drink herbal medicine," Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto remarked while seeing them off on Natuna Island on February 2.

However, the controversy over choosing Natuna Island as a place to quarantine people has prompted Jakarta to consider building a special facility to handle contagious diseases as a precautionary measure against an outbreak in future.

When the government announced that the Indonesians from Wuhan would be quarantined on Natuna Islands, the locals had objected to the plan. They held protests and rejected their fellow Indonesians although none of them was infected by the virus.

The Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) has a military base called Raden Sadjad Air Base equipped with a hospital with a capacity of up to 300 beds and managed by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.

Natuna residents were upset when they learned of the presence of the Indonesians apparently as they were not well informed about the observation process.

Hundreds of residents opted to leave Ranai, Natuna, and Riau Islands a day after the government quarantined the Indonesians.

To make thing worse, the Natuna district administration issued circulars asking schools to close from February 3 to 17, prompting residents to return to their hometowns and seek refuge.

However, the Home Affairs Ministry issued a circular asking the Natuna district administration to revoke their circular.

Kamis, 13 Februari 2020

Indonesia serious in anticipating COVID-19 by Fardah

Jakarta , Feb 13, 2020 (ANTARA) - Many people wonder how Indonesia has so far remained safe and free from the coronavirus (COVID-19), as the virus has claimed more than 1,300 lives and affected some 60 thousand people, mostly in Hubei Province, China, and in 27 other countries.
Indonesia has so far never reported any COVID-19 cases, unlike its neighbors, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, which have reported a number of coronavirus cases. This fact has raised questions. Several foreign medical researchers expressed worry that the cases might have gone undetected in a country having a population of over 265 million.

A team of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the United States, in a study conducted recently said that Indonesia’s lack of confirmed cases “may suggest the potential for undetected cases”, as air travel may contribute to cases being exported from China. The concern was based on the high number of airline passengers traveling between Indonesia and Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak in China.

Indonesia’s Health Minister, Terawan Agus Putranto, however, dismissed the study, citing the ministry’s international-standard medical procedures.

"All have been thoroughly checked. Our medical kits (to check the possibility of coronavirus) are from the United States of America," Putranto remarked on Feb 11, 2020.

"We are transparent with our research. If there are any experts from WHO (UN's World Health Organization) and US researchers interested in taking a look at our medical tests, they are welcome to come to our lab," he said.

He further noted that the UN's health body had approved the medical procedures conducted by the government of Indonesia.

"If there is a request for surveys or research, please file a letter with us, but we expect there to be no statements discrediting a country's effort (to tackle the virus)," he added.

In response to the question, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) confirmed that 62 suspected coronavirus cases in Indonesia had tested negative.

Kamis, 06 Februari 2020

CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK DISRUPTS TOURIST BOOM FROM CHINA by Fardah

Jakarta, 6/2/2020 (Antara) - Chinese tourists had been a very lucrative segment for Indonesia over the last several years, as their numbers tended to increase every year.
Indonesia had intensified tourism promotion activities and opened direct flights connecting its cities and Chinese cities to attract more tourists.
During the 2016-2017 period, Chinese tourists were recorded as the largest group of foreign travelers visiting Indonesia, outnumbering Australian visitors and those from Singapore and Malaysia.
A total of 1,385,850 Mainland Chinese tourists visited Bali in 2017 making the PRC the number one source of foreign visitors to the Island, overtaking Australia.
Indonesia received 1.97 million Chinese tourists in 2017 and the number increased to 2.7 million Chinese tourists in 2018. The Tourism Ministry had set a target to attract 3.5 million last year, but it was missed due to natural disasters and the impacts of the US-China trade war.
The situation has gone even worse since late last year due to the outbreak of coronavirus in China that claimed over 560 lives and infected some 28,000 others.
According to data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), Indonesia missed its target of attracting 18 million foreign tourists last year, as the number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2019 reached 16.11 million, an increase from 15.81 million in 2018. The figure of 18 million visits was a revision from the previous target of 20 million foreign tourists.
Most foreign tourists visiting Indonesia last year were from Malaysia, with 2.98 million visits, or 18.51 percent; followed by China with 2.07 million visits, or 12.86 percent; Singapore with 1.93 million visits, or 12.01 percent; Australia with 1.39 million visits, or 8.61 percent, and Timor Leste with 118 thousand visits, or 7.32 percent.

Senin, 06 Januari 2020

INDONESIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM CHALLENGED TO PRODUCE QUALITY HR

By Fardah
Jakarta, 6/1/2020 (Antara) - The new-fangled cabinet lineup of President Joko Widodos (Jokowis) government sprang a few surprises, one of them being young and successful startup entrepreneur Nadiem Makarim entrusted with leading the Education and Culture Ministry.
Jokowi chose Makarim, 35, to help him prepare quality human resources, as his second-term administration is chiefly prioritizing the development of human resources, following infrastructure development in the first term.

Makarim, holding a Master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, is the founder and former CEO of App-based Go-Jek ride startup. In December 2016, The Straits Times bestowed the Asians of the Year title on him along with six other people operating on the frontiers of technology's interface with business, collectively called "The Disruptors".

His capability in innovating technological breakthrough has impressed Jokowi, who believes that Indonesian human resources must be improved to stay abreast of the swift changes brought about by technological advancements. Jokowi suggested to usher in significant reform in the school curricula of the country to produce quality human resources.

Jokowi has called on Makarim to develop a technology-based application for the national education system to improve the quality of education evenly across the country that has some 17 thousand islands, as well as 514 districts and municipalities.

Jumat, 22 November 2019

Active generosity should be reflected in anti-poverty efforts by Fardah

Jakarta , Nov 22, 2019 (ANTARA) - Over 74 years after it gained independence, Indonesia continues to face the challenge of poverty inflicting several million of its populace despite a continued drop through the years.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) in 2018 revealed that the poverty rate in Indonesia had dropped to the lowest as compared to the ratios in the earlier periods.

The number of people living below the poverty line dropped to 25.95 million, or 9.82 percent of the population in March 2018, from 27.77 million, or 10.64 percent of the population, a year earlier.

BPS head Suhariyanto had told reporters in Jakarta on July 16, 2018, that nationally, the number of people categorized as poor in March 2018 had decreased 1.82 million from a year earlier.

The success achieved in reducing the poverty rate was attributable to all priority programs of the government, such as infrastructure development for better connectivity; village funds; improvement in logistics distribution; and several social allowances for health, family welfare, and education.

However, despite the success, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has reminded citizens that alleviating poverty and reducing the social gap remained persistent challenges and homework that necessitated all-encompassing efforts.
Speaking on National Heroes Day themed “I am a Hero of the Present” and observed on Nov 10, 2019, Jokowi called for heroic figures keen to fight poverty, ignorance, and inequality.

During the post-independence era, the nation requires to continue its struggle, but this time it is to combat poverty, ignorance, backwardness, and inequality, Jokowi stated.

The president remarked that despite Indonesia having successfully reduced its poverty rate to a historical low of 9.66 percent in 2018, from 10.96 percent in 2014, the government had yet to revel in this achievement.

"We are not satisfied with it. We yet have to accomplish several things, while on the hand, we are facing a shortage of time. We only have 11 years left to achieve the target of SDGs," he remarked.

The president is targeting to reduce the poverty rate to below nine percent.

"He (the president) has ordered that the poverty rate be cut further to below nine percent," new Social Affairs Minister Juliari Peter Batubara had stated in October 2019.

The new minister remains resolved to attain the target in spite of the challenges of the globalization era.

"This is not easy, but it would be a record if we manage to suppress the national poverty line to below nine percent," he stated.

The PDIP politician is upbeat about achieving the target, which is the lowest ever.

The target is also in tune with the government's programs to boost the development of human resources and to create more job opportunities as well as to increase economic growth.

"I think we in the cabinet must ensure that our programs are in line with the president's vision and mission," he remarked.

Related news: Poverty remains major problem in Indonesia: ACT chief
The government’s intervention is indeed deemed necessary to help lower the poverty rate.

However, Ahyuddin, chairman of the advisory board of ACT (Swift Response and Action), expressed belief that generosity can help eradicate poverty that remains a glaring problem in Indonesia.

"Poverty is a humanitarian affair. Humanitarian action does not only concern natural disasters or people being displaced due to conflict or war," he remarked in Bandung, West Java, on Nov 21, 2019, following the launch of the Humanity Rice Truck expedition program.

The ACT focuses on humanitarianism, generosity, and volunteerism to aid in addressing the country's problems concerning poverty.

"I believe that however grave the problem of poverty is, it could be solved if this nation becomes a generous one," he stated.

He called on more Indonesians to become volunteers in dealing with humanitarian problems.

To deal with poverty, the ACT focuses on providing food, such as rice, for the poor. He proposed a program called "Rice for Indonesian mothers."

This is since it is the mothers that harbor the deepest concerns when their families have no food to eat.

The ACT provides 250 tons of rice monthly for the poor. It means the humanitarian NGO distributes rice to two thousand families daily, or 50 thousand families monthly.

By 2020, the ACT is upbeat about providing rice to 500 thousand families across Indonesia with donations from the public.