Friday, August 28, 2020

NEW YOGYAKARTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ENVISIONED TO BOOST TOURISM b Fardah

 

Jakarta, 29/8/2020 (ANTARA) - Yogyakarta, a Javanese sultanate and special autonomous province located in the central of Java Island, currently has a new and modern Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA) that is 13 times bigger than its old Adisucipto Airport.


While inaugurating the new airport on Aug 28, 2020, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) claimed that the construction of YIA, which took just 20 months and cost Rp11.3 trillion (some US$777.4 million), is the best construction practice, so far, in Indonesia.


The new airport has a 3,250-meter runway, longer than the old Adisucipto Airport's runway measuring 2,200 meters. Wide-bodied aircraft, such as Airbus A330 and Boeing 777, can land at the new airport. It has a 219 thousand square-meter terminal, compared to 17 thousand square meters at the old airport's terminal. It has a capacity to accommodate 20 million passengers yearly, as compared to 1.6 million yearly at the old airport.


Jokowi is upbeat about the YAI being crowded once the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

"We know that we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic. However, once we have the vaccination, Insya Allah (God willing), I believe that the airport can become the busiest. That is important," he affirmed.

Located in Kulon Progo District, Yogyakarta Province, the new airport is some 60 kilometers away from the worlds most popular Buddhist temple, Borobudur, designated by the Indonesian government as one of Indonesia's five super-priority tourist destinations.


Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi is optimistic that the YAI would attract domestic and foreign tourists, thereby helping aid economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

INDONESIA'S WEATHER IS A STUDY IN CONTRASTS by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 27/8/2020 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is preparing anticipatory measures against extreme weather events as it is prone to hydro-meteorological disasters, such as flooding, landslides, and whirlwinds, in the rainy season and wildfires or severe drought during the dry season.

Rains and dry spells often occur at the same time in different parts of the world's largest archipelagic country, which is spread over more than 16 thousand large and small islands.

These unique weather and climate dynamics can be attributed to Indonesia's territorial location around the equator as well as it being flanked by two oceans (the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean) and two big continents (Asia and Australia), Dwikorita Karnawati, head of the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) explained recently.

This uniqueness is apparent from the contrasting weather or climatic conditions witnessed in the country. Even as several areas are experiencing drought, others are receiving extreme rains.

While the dry season has set in in most of Indonesia's southern regions, high rainfall is still likely in the equatorial regions, according to the BMKG.

Monday, August 24, 2020

KOMODO NATIONAL PARK, LABUAN BAJO REOPEN TO DOMESTIC TOURISTS, EXPATS by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 25/8/2020 (ANTARA) - After remaining closed for nearly six months owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the Komodo National Park (TNK) and Labuan Bajo have reopened to domestic tourists and expatriates living in Indonesia, albeit under several restrictions.

No more than 25 tourists are being allowed to visit each destination per day, with the observance of health protocols. Tourists are also being asked to furnish COVID-19 rapid test results showing that they are not infected with the virus.

In addition, the East Nusa Tenggara authorities are asking visitors to register online for entry tickets to Labuan Bajo through the website https://booking.labuanbajoflores.id/.

Tourists planning a trip to the Komodo National Park are being requested to use the services of certified local tour agents, who can be contacted through https://booking.labuanbajoflores.id/export/list-ta-to, according to Muhammad Iqbal, spokesperson for the Komodo National Park office.

Furthermore, the government has designated Komodo Island as a premium tourist destination, with visitors thronging the place to enjoy rare sightings of Komodo dragons in the wild.

The number of tourists visiting the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) habitat will be limited to 50 thousand annually, according to the authorities.

"Komodo Island has been prepared specifically as a conservation island, and we will limit entry to no more than 50 thousand visitors a year," East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat stated recently.

The NTT government has decided on the policy after the central government agreed to grant the province the status for co-management of the Komodo National Park in West Manggarai district along with the Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Health protocols take centerstage in preparation to welcome tourists by Fardah

 Jakarta, Aug 23, 2020 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is gearing towards a transitional period of the new normal amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, following the relaxation of large-scale social distancing (PSBB) measures that still mandate the implementation of strict health protocols.

The pandemic has had an adverse effect on tourism due to the tightening of measures and controls on air, sea, and land transportation to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19.

As of August 22, 2020, the tally of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia had reached 151,498, with 105,198 recoveries and 6,594 deaths.

Even as the nation adapts to new habits amid the ongoing pandemic, the government is endeavoring to revive the tourism sector, while putting measures in place to ensure tourists and other stakeholders consistently practice health protocols.

The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has implemented technical guidelines and strict health protocols at tourism destinations to ensure safety of travelers.

To regain tourist confidence, ministry has also promulgated Cleanliness, Health and Safety (CHS) protocols, according to Ari Juliano Gema, spokesperson for the ministry’s COVID-19 Impact Handling Task Force.

"That means that, in this period, we are prioritizing cleanliness, health, safety, and environmental aspects. We already have guidelines that we have made with the aim to ensure that all tourism destinations are following the guidelines and can ensure that the CHSE factors are met," he explained.

The ministry has also produced a video on the implementation of guidelines and health protocols, he added.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Come and work from Bali amid lingering COVID-19 pandemic by Fardah

 Jakarta, Aug 22, 2020 (ANTARA) - Bali, among the world's most popular resort islands, reopened to domestic tourists since July 31, 2020, after months of being deserted over the ongoing pandemic of the China-originated novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in late 2019.

However, the opening of tourism is being conducted in stages and limited only to domestic tourists and in certain regions that are ready to apply stringent health protocols to fight the pandemic.

The central government and Bali authorities have formulated health protocols to be applied in several sectors, including tourism. The protocols make it mandatory for people to wear face masks while in public places, maintain social and physical distancing, frequently wash hands with soap and in running water, and avoid crowds, among other things.

Domestic tourists entering Bali must hold health certificates attesting that they are COVID-19 free, and Bali hotel employees are obliged to regularly conduct COVID-19 tests.

On the first day of the opening (July 31), a total of 2,128 people had entered Bali via the Ngurah Rai International Airport, while 1,847 were clocked on the next day, and the figure reached 2,419 on Aug 2, according to Putu Astawa, head of the Bali Tourism Office.

In addition to domestic tourists, some 6,500 foreign tourists, who were “stranded” in Bali since before the pandemic, lauded the opening of the island resort, which also means restaurants, caf├ęs, and hotels are back in operation.

The government has planned to allow foreign tourists to visit Bali from mid-September of 2020 under certain conditions.

Travel planning and booking website Tripadvisor has ranked Bali among the world's best tourism destinations alongside London in the Great Britain and Crete in Greece.

Tripadvisor's Travelers Choice Award for the World’s Best Destination has named Bali, also known as the Island of Gods, among the best tourist destinations globally out of a list of 25.

Recognizing fallen health workers in the battle against COVID-19 by Fardah

Jakarta, Aug 21, 2020  (ANTARA) - It is a tremendous loss when healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, on the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) died while saving the lives of those infected with the ailment.

The governments had yet to release an official figure on the deaths of healthcare workers during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, several organizations have attempted to collect data from various sources, including news reports.

Amnesty International has collated and analyzed a wide range of available data showing that over three thousand health workers died after contracting COVID-19 in 79 countries, though the figure is likely to be a significant underestimate due to under-reporting, the NGO stated in June 2020.

According to Amnesty’s monitoring as of June, countries with the highest numbers of health worker deaths, included Russia, with the count reaching 545; while the number of those succumbing to the disease in the UK (England and Wales) touched 540, including 262 social care workers; 507 in the United States, 351 in Brazil, 248 in Mexico, 188 in Italy, 111 in Egypt, 91 in Iran, 82 in Ecuador, and 63 in Spain.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN), on its official website in June 2020, noted that of the three thousand fatalities globally, some 600 were nurses.

ICN implores governments to collect accurate data on nurse infections and deaths and act immediately to protect healthcare workers and save lives.

Worldwide, there is no systematic and standardized record of the number of nurses and other healthcare workers (HCWs), who have contracted the disease or died from it, according to ICN.

However, ICN’s analysis, based on data from National Nursing Associations, official figures, and media reports from a limited number of countries, indicates that over 230 thousand healthcare workers had contracted the disease.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

AS WAIT FOR COVID-19 CURE EXTENDS, FACE MASKS BECOME PRIORITY by Fardah

 

Jakarta, Aug 15,  2020 -Even as countries race to develop vaccines against COVID-19, face masks — cloth or surgical —  remain an effective and cheap solution to block the spread of respiratory droplets that can carry the novel coronavirus.

Studies have shown that face masks can reduce coronavirus transmission by around 50-85 percent.

In addition, social and physical distancing, as well as frequent hand washing with soap and running water are also necessary for preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The COVID-19 death rate in Indonesia is quite high, and even among the highest in the region. As of August 15, 2020, the nation's total case tally stood at 137,468, the death toll at 6,071, and the number of recoveries was at 91,321.

One of the reasons for this is that public adherence to the health protocols laid down by the government is still less than 50 per cent.

Surveys have shown that about 95 percent of respondents understand the importance of following health protocols, but the level of compliance remains below 50 percent, according to Doni Monardo, head of the Task Force for COVID-19 Handling.

Therefore, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called for the launch of a two-week, nationwide "wear face mask" campaign to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The President has also advised a stage-wise implementation of a behavioral change campaign, starting with the"wear face mask" campaign.

"Later, after two weeks, the campaign (focus) should be on social distancing or hand washing, for instance. Do not club together matters on hand washing, social distancing, crowd prevention, or mask wearing," he explained.

Jokowi is keen that the people give serious attention to health protocols and amend their behavior accordingly.

Moreover, the head of state is looking to involve members of the Family Welfare Movement (PKK) to help conduct a door-to-door campaign on wearing of masks.

Monday, August 10, 2020

INDIGENOUS VACCINE IN THE MAKING by Fardah

Jakarta, Aug 11, 2020 - The world is racing against time for developing a vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has plagued more than 200 countries since it first emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

 

At least 28 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being tested in human clinical trials in 13 countries, while 131 other potential vaccines have not made it to the stage of human trials yet.


Indonesia has also entered the fray by developing its own vaccine called Red and White, which refers to the colors of its national flag.


The Red and White vaccine is being entirely developed by Indonesia. The Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM), the Ministry of Research and Technology, and several universities are working on the vaccine.


“For the past three months, we have been developing our own vaccine, specifically from the COVID-19 virus strain that has been spreading in Indonesia,” President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said in Bandung on August 11, 2020.


The animal trials for the Red and White vaccine are expected to be completed in 2020. If it is effective, the seed vaccine will be submitted to Bio Farma for preclinical and clinical trials.


The Red and White vaccine is projected to be fully ready in mid-2021.


The local vaccine candidate was earlier mentioned during the commemoration of the 25th National Technology Awakening Day (Hakteknas) 2020 on August 10, 2020.


The Harketnas offered the right momentum for Indonesian scientists to develop the COVID-19 vaccine, Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin said at the function.


On the occasion, Minister of Research and Technology/Head of the Research and Innovation Agency (Menristek/Head of BRIN), Bambang Brodjonegoro, confirmed that several studies and innovations were under way in the country for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.


Research and innovations to handle the COVID-19 crisis cover the production of ventilators, rapid diagnostic tests, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits, mobile lab Biosafety level 2 (BSL-2), and the Red and White vaccine.