Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Year ender - Indonesia stands firmly behind Blue Helmets by Fardah


 Jakarta , Dec 31, 2020 (ANTARA) - At the end of December, 2020, Indonesia completed its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which saw it assuming the Council's presidency twice.

Indonesia’s UN membership focused on the role of the Blue Helmets in helping maintain world peace.

Indonesia has been participating in UN peacekeeping missions since 1957 and remains committed to contributing to the organization's efforts to maintain peace in conflict-torn parts of the world.

"Indonesia's participation in the UN peacekeeping mission is the implementation of the mandate of the fourth paragraph of the preamble to the 1945 Constitution to create world order and is an integral part of its foreign policy and diplomacy," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi once said.

At present, the number of Indonesian personnel serving in various peacekeeping operations is 2,847, including 159 women (based on data as of 30 April, 2020). This number has put Indonesia 8th among 124 Troops/Police Contributing Countries (T/PCC).

The Garuda Contingent Personnel and Troops have been assigned to nine UN peacekeeping operations: UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNAMID (Darfur, Sudan), MINUSCA (Central African Republic), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo), MINUSMA (Mali), MINURSO (Western Sahara), UNMISS (South Sudan), UNISFA (Abyei, Sudan), and UNMHA (Yemen).

In 2019, Indonesia targeted to send up to four thousand personnel for various UN missions, but this year, the focus was no longer on quantity, but on the quality of personnel.

Besides, the number of peacekeeping forces globally has also been reduced due to funding difficulties at the UN, according to Grata Endah Werdaningtyas, director of the Foreign Ministry's International Security and Disarmament.

During its 2019-2020 term of the UNSC non-permanent membership, Indonesia assumed presidency in May, 2019 and August, 2020. The theme for the first stint was ‘Investing in Peace’ and the second ‘Advancing Sustainable Peace’.

Speaking at the ‘UNSC Open Debate on Investing in Peace: Improving Safety and Performance of UN Peacekeeping’ on May 7, 2019, Minister Marsudi had said that for decades, the Blue Helmets have been a distinct model of a global partnership, collective leadership, and shared responsibility for peace. However, with today's new political and security realities, the challenges facing the UN peacekeepers are enormous.

They are the guardians of peace, protecting millions around the globe, she said. Moreover, often overlooked, a peacekeeping mission is more efficient than unilateral actions, she added. The Blue Helmet is eight times less expensive than a unilateral mission, she continued.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Year ender - Indonesia takes cautious steps towards mass immunization by Fardah


 Jakarta, Dec 29, 2020 (ANTARA) - With still no emergency-use approval for Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, it is becoming increasingly evident that the Indonesian government will have to wait until 2021 to kickstart its mass vaccination program.

Initially, the government had hoped to begin the vaccination program in the third week of December, 2020, with healthcare workers and legal enforcers getting first priority.

The government, however, is still waiting for the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to issue an emergency-use authorization (EUA) for Sinovac's CoronaVax vaccine. 

The delay has been attributed to precautionary measures that are crucial to ensure the vaccine’s safety.

In a recently released on YouTube video, BPOM head Penny Kusumastuti Lukito said the agency is currently observing Sinovac's CoronaVax vaccine, and expects the interim results from the trials of the vaccine in January, 2021.

The observation period for confirming the vaccine's effectiveness usually takes one, three, and six months, hence the EUA cannot be released soon, she explained.

She, however, said Sinovac’s vaccine has met the quality standards for producing medicines.

“There are no critical side effects,” she said of the vaccine that has undergone final stage clinical trials in Bandung, West Java province. 

The trials were held in cooperation with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac, its Indonesian partner Bio Farma, and the University of Pandjadjaran.

The third phase clinical trials of Sinovac's vaccine in Bandung began on August 11, 2020 with 1,620 volunteers and so far, they have run smoothly.


Indonesia's COVID-19 vaccine inspection team, which comprises the BPOM, the Health Ministry, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), and representatives of Bio Farma, had flown to China on October 14, 2020 to inspect the quality and halal status of the Sinovac and Cansino vaccine candidates.

The BPOM, however, is waiting to check the vaccine’s efficacy, that is whether the vaccine improves antibodies and neutralizes the virus. 

The observational period for the vaccine includes a laboratory test of the subjects’ blood samples.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Year ender - UNSC stint highlights Indonesia's role as bridge-builder , consensus-maker by Fardah


 Jakarta, Dec 26, 2020 (ANTARA) - On December 31 this year, Indonesia will wrap up its stint as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

This is the fourth time Indonesia has occupied a non-permanent UNSC seat, after 1973-1974, 1995-1996, and 2007-2008.

Over the past two years, the country has held the UNSC presidency twice — in May, 2019 and August, 2020. The theme for the first stint was ‘Investing in Peace’ and the second ‘Advancing Sustainable Peace’, both reflecting the nation’s vision and role in the UNSC in promoting world peace.

The Foreign Ministry affirmed the country continues to strive to play a role as a bridge-builder, contribute to world peace amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and safeguard the principles of international law.

Such responsibility is in-line with the mandate of the 1945 Constitution to participate in a world order based on freedom, lasting peace, and social justice.

Despite the pandemic, under Indonesia’s second-term Presidency, the UNSC managed to carry out a total of 50 activities in both virtual and in-person formats, including 12 open meetings, 12 closed meetings, 5 additional agendas, and 12 UNSC Subsidiary Body meetings.

The Council also produced four resolutions, notably on extending the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL); extending the mandate of the peacekeeping mission in Somalia (UNSOM); extending the sanctions regime in Mali; and, on female peacekeeping personnel, initiated by Indonesia.

In fact, in the past two years, the United Nations endorsed five Indonesia-initiated resolutions at multilateral forums.

"At the initiative of Indonesia, five resolutions were adopted, both at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

The resolutions are UNSC Resolution No. 2538 concerning Women in Peacekeeping Operations; UNGA Resolutions on ‘International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development 2021’, ‘Global Solidarity to Fight COVID-19’, ‘International Cooperation to Address Challenges Faced by Seafarers as a result of COVID-19 Pandemic to Support Global Supply Chains’, and ‘Global Health and Foreign Policy: Strengthening Health System Resilience through Affordable Healthcare for All’.

In its resolution on the protection of seafarers, the 193-member UNGA urged all countries to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as key workers, immediately implement measures allowing safe ship crew changes, allow stranded seafarers to be repatriated, and ensure access to medical care for all seafarers and other marine personnel. Currently, Indonesia ranks third in terms of seafaring manpower in the world, after China and the Philippines.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Year ender - ASEAN's concrete actions paramount to ending prolonged misery of Rohingya by Fardah

Jakarta Des 25, 2020 (ANTARA) - Some 399 Rohingya boat people, including women and children, were stranded in Aceh, Indonesia's westernmost province, in 2020, after being denied entry into Malaysia, the preferred destination, over concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The refugees, adrift in the middle of the sea for weeks aboard damaged boats, were rescued by Aceh fishermen. 

Currently, 364 of them remain in Aceh, as 31 had escaped in order to reach Malaysia, which shares its marine border with Aceh, while four had died in the Aceh refugee camp.

Indonesia currently hosts over 900 Rohingya human trafficking victims, who have become refugees on the high seas.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar that have faced persecution at the hands of the Buddhist majority for decades. In fact, the UN reports show that Rohingya are the most persecuted minority in the world.

In May 2015, the Rohingya refugee crisis had grabbed international headlines when tens of thousands of Rohingya fled from genocide in Myanmar in overcrowded boats heading toward Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Facing a genocide in their hometown of Rakhine State, Myanmar, nearly one million of them fled to the neighboring country, Bangladesh, in 2017, and were accommodated in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, the biggest refugee camp in the world today.

Their tragedy continues unabated, as the Rohingya refugee crisis has become a ripe ground for human trafficking since they were moved to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal, which could be inundated by a single strike from a cyclone. 

Since January 2020, at least 2,400 refugees took to boats in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. 

Some 36 percent of the refugees are children. The vast majority are Rohingya people leaving from camps in Bangladesh – many of them victims of human trafficking – who had earlier fled violence and persecution in Myanmar. 

Conditions on the boats are appalling, with a dearth of food and water and zilch healthcare, while survivors spoke of beatings and other abuse by traffickers on board.

Even in Aceh, they remain prone to the human trafficking network. Last November, the North Aceh District Military Command had thwarted an attempt of 14 Rohingya refugees to flee a temporary refugee camp at the vocational training center in Meunasah Mee Kandang Village, Lhokseumawe.

The military personnel also arrested eight suspected members of a human trafficking ring allegedly smuggling Rohingya immigrants into Aceh, according to spokesman for Aceh’s Rohingya Handling Task Force Lieutenant Colonel Am Oke Krisyanto.

The Rohingya misery has lingered on, as the Myanmar Government has allowed the atrocities to continue, while other ASEAN member countries could not stop it due to the regional grouping’s principle of non-interference in the affairs of the 10 member states.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Year ender 2020 - Indonesia firm on Palestine question


 Jakarta, 19/12/2020 (ANTARA) - With several Arab nations agreeing to normalize relations with Israel under an agreement that the Trump administration helped broker, Israeli media has speculated that Indonesia could likely follow suit.

However, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi has been quick to assert that Indonesia has no plans to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel.

“Referring to several news reports saying that Indonesia will normalize ties with Israel, and as a follow-up of Mr. President’s directives to the Foreign Minister, I would like to convey (the information) that Indonesia has no intention to open diplomatic relations with Israel,” the minister told the press on December 16, 2020.

Indonesia’s support for the independence of Palestine based on a two-state solution and other agreed upon international parameters will consistently be maintained, she affirmed.

The government’s consistent stance was commended by House Speaker Puan Maharani and deputy chairman of the Peoples’ Consultative Assembly (MPR), Hidayat Nur Wahid.

"As long as Palestine is not independent, Indonesia stands against the Israeli occupation," Maharani noted in a statement issued on December 18, 2020.

Indonesia’s staunch support was strongly reflected during its non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2019-2020 period, particularly during its UNSC chairmanship in May, 2019.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier stressed that the government remained committed to ensuring that its membership of the UNSC would facilitate discussions on the Palestinian issue and drum up support for Palestine at the UNSC.

Indonesia’s diplomats at the UN consistently maintained that the Palestinian issue has had an impact on international peace.

As UNSC president, Indonesia initiated an informal discussion "Arria Formula" on Palestine at the UN Headquarters in New York on May 9, 2019.

Monday, December 14, 2020

BUSINESS CIRCLE UPBEAT ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINE ENDING UNCERTAINTY by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 14/12/2020 (ANTARA) - The government believes that national economic recovery will principally hinge on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine becoming available after which distribution among the public and acceleration of treatment of COVID-19 patients will be conducted.

Indonesia's business community has lauded the arrival of 1.2 million doses of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine in Jakarta on Dec 6, 2020, from China, as it raises hopes not only for a health solution but also for economic recovery.

Apart from the 1.2 million doses of the vaccine, the government is also working on 1.8 million doses of the vaccine to arrive in early January 2021. The vaccine that arrived has passed the phase III clinical trials in Bandung since August 2020.

In addition to the completed vaccine, there will be bulk raw materials for producing 15 million doses of vaccine in December this year and 30 million doses of vaccine in January 2021 to be further processed by PT Bio Farma Persero.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan earlier noted that the government will likely commence the first phase of COVID-19 immunization in the third week of December this year.

However, the government is awaiting emergency-use authorization from Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to commence the first phase of the program.

The BPOM is still awaiting results of the Phase 3 clinical trials of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil and will collate research data from the Phase 3 clinical trials for the Chinese vaccine candidate in Brazil and Indonesia to determine its safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity, according to BPOM head Penny K. Lukito.

Indonesia has established cooperation with WHO and several countries, including China, South Korea, the UK, and the UAE, for supplying COVID-19 vaccines. Besides this, the nation is also developing its indigenous vaccine called Red and White.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) lauded the availability of the Chinese vaccine in Indonesia, as it projected it to boost public confidence and security and dispel current uncertainty.

"Alhamdulillah (thank God), of course, we welcome (the vaccine), because in 2021, the game changers would be first, the (COVID-19) vaccine and second, the job creation law," Kadin Chief Rosan Roeslani stated on Dec 7.

Availability of the COVID-19 vaccine will encourage people to resume their activities and spending, thereby boosting demand, he pointed out.

"We laud the government's fast response, and (arrival of the vaccine) will offer a sense of certainty. Hopefully, it would also boost the health sector and bring about economic recovery," he remarked.

Friday, December 11, 2020

ARRIVAL OF CORONAVAC IN INDONESIA RAISES HOPES by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 11/12/2020 (ANTARA) - A long-awaited vaccine against COVID-19 finally arrived in Jakarta on December 6, 2020, and was immediately taken to the headquarters of state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma in Bandung, West Java, where it is now being kept under a tight military and police guard.

Indonesia received 1.2 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine from Beijing-based biopharma company Sinovac Biotech Ltd, and another 1.8 million doses are scheduled to arrive by January, 2021.

In addition to the finished vaccine, Indonesia will receive raw materials in bulk for producing 15 million doses of the vaccine in December this year and 30 million doses in January, 2021, which will have to be further processed by PT Bio Farma.

Bio Farma conducted the Phase 3 clinical trials of Sinovac's vaccine, in close cooperation with the University of Pandjajaran in Bandung, and the results have been encouraging.

Health Minister Terawan Putranto noted that the delivery of the vaccine was the first phase of procurement of three million doses of the inactivated SARS CoV-2 vaccine candidate.

The Health Ministry has ensured that the refrigerated transport vehicles, provided by Bio Farma for monitoring and maintaining the vaccine's temperature, are in good condition.

The authority has prepared a storage warehouse and chalked out the cold chain management for 1.2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine before they can be distributed to health offices nationwide.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, who is also serving as chairman of the Committee for COVID-19 Response and National Economic Recovery (KPC-PEN), said that the government will provide the vaccines under two schemes: government-paid and self-paid vaccination schemes.

"Detailed regulation on the two schemes will be issued within the next one or two weeks," Hartarto stated.

The Joko Widodo administration has been eager to begin mass vaccinations by the third week of December, and immunization simulations have been carried out in several locations.

The government, however, will have to wait for emergency-use authorization (EUA) from Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to commence the first phase of the immunization program.

The BPOM revealed recently that it is still waiting for the results of the Phase 3 clinical trials of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil as it mulls granting the emergency-use authorization.

The agency will collate research data from the Phase 3 clinical trials for the Chinese vaccine candidate in Brazil and Indonesia to determine its safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity, BPOM head Penny K. Lukito stated.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Vigilance crucial as 270 regions head to polls amid pandemic by Fardah


 Jakarta , Dec 9, 2020 (ANTARA) - More than 100 million voters are expected to head to the polling stations on December 9, 2020 to cast their vote in the simultaneous regional head elections (pilkada) in nearly half of Indonesia’s regions amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

A total of 5,292 fresh cases were recorded in a span of 24 hours on December 8, 2020, bringing the count to 586,842, and the death toll to 18 thousand.

On December 3, 2020, Indonesia reported 8,369 fresh cases, the highest ever recorded in 24 hours, with Papua province contributing 1,755 cases; West Java, 1,648 cases; and, Jakarta, 1,153 cases.

Despite instructions to implement health protocols, polling officers for the 2020 Pilkada have not been spared by the virus. In Tasikmalaya, West Java, the General Election Commission (KPU) confirmed on December 8, 2020 that results of rapid tests conducted on 36,078 polling officers found 220 officials reactive to COVID-19.

“The results of yesterday’s rapid tests declared 220 officers reactive, and they have now been isolated,” Tasikmalaya General Election Office (KPU) Commissioner Isti'anah stated.

The Tasikmalaya KPU has made it mandatory for all election administration officers to undergo rapid tests to confirm they are in sound health, Isti'anah noted.

The Tasikmalaya KPU commissioner stated that officers with reactive rapid test results have been immediately asked to take swab tests and self-isolate while awaiting test results.

“Those found reactive are in good health, and they have now been isolated. If the swab results are negative, then they are being allowed to work. However, if they are positive, they cannot work,” he stated.

Isti'anah said that if swab test results of the reactive officers do not come by polling day, voting would nonetheless be held by optimizing the number of officers available, as it would be difficult to find a replacement.

 
Earlier, 11 election administration officers in Ngawi, Central Java province, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease.

The Ngawi General Election Office (KPU) had conducted COVID-19 rapid tests on 17,636 officers, following which 67 were declared reactive and sent for swab tests, while the rest were still waiting for results. Those infected with COVID-19 will not be able to report for duty on polling day, said officials.

There have also been reports of polling officers and candidates testing positive for COVID-19 in other regions. Despite the confirmed cases, the elections for Ngawi district head and deputy district head will proceed as scheduled, officials said.

Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy after the US and India, will hold the regional head elections in 270 regions comprising 9 provinces, 37 cities, and 224 districts. The campaign period lasted from September 26 to December 5, 2020.

A total of 734 nominee pairs have registered as candidate pairs for the polls.

On November 11, 2020, Kumparan online media had quoted Saydiman Marto, who is serving on the home affairs ministers staff, as saying that four candidates have succumbed to COVID-19 and other ailments, 24 have contracted COVID-19, while 20 others have recovered from the coronavirus disease.

State Enterprises (BUMN) Minister Erick Thohir earlier reminded the public to remain vigilant to stop the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

"We all have to become more vigilant in the wake of a spike in the number of cases. This means many of us have started to become negligent," Thohir noted in his statement recently.

Thohir, concurrently chief executive of the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery (KPCPEN), reiterated that his office remained committed to playing an active role in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We all know and believe that human life is more valuable than anything," he emphasized.

The government is currently striving to provide safe, effective, and quality vaccines at affordable prices, according to the minister.

"Vigilance and vaccination are concrete efforts and collective struggles to protect ourselves and the country and to end the pandemic, which necessitates support from all components of the nation. Now, let us continue to guard all of us. Do not get tired or be careless. Insya Allah, our efforts are a blessing," he stated.

Strict application of health protocols is being considered key for the successful implementation of the pilkada this year.

Preparations for the simultaneous pilkada have been mainly related to guaranteeing security and strict application of health protocols, Sigit Pamungkas, senior expert of the Presidential Staff Office’s (KSP's) Deputy V, said.

“The regional elections are going to be held in a matter of days, while the number of COVID-19 cases has continued to fluctuate. Hence, election organizers should implement strict health protocols as designed,” Pamungkas remarked.

Pamungkas, former commissioner of the General Election Commission (KPU), stated that pilkada executors must remain firm in ensuring that health protocols are applied strictly during local elections.

"It is necessary to strengthen coordination among all parties involved to ensure that the health protocols are applied strictly," he remarked.

Pamungkas recalled that President Joko Widodo had earlier given four instructions on the implementation of regional elections. The most important part of the President's directive was that the elections be direct, general, free, honest, fair, and safe from COVID-19.

The Indonesian General Elections Commission (KPU) has been implementing health protocols at every stage of the elections, right from the campaigning period to the time of voting.

The agency has also issued the General Election Commission Regulation (PKPU) that regulates the implementation of regional elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday, December 4, 2020

PUBLIC HEALTH EFFORTS, ECONOMIC RECOVERY HINGE ON BUDGET UTILIZATION by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 5/12/2020 (ANTARA) - The coronavirus pandemic has delivered the largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades by forcing governments to impose lockdowns or social distancing rules that have caused widespread economic damage.

Based on data from worldometers.info, as of December 5, 2020, more than 66.3 million people across the globe have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 1.5 million people have succumbed to the virus since its reported emergence in Wuhan, China in December, 2019.

The June 2020 Global Economic Prospects report has predicted a 5.2-percent contraction in global GDP in 2020. Over the long term, deep recessions triggered by the pandemic are expected to leave lasting scars through decline in investment, erosion of human capital through lost work and schooling, and fragmentation of global trade and supply linkages, it stated.

Indonesia has not been spared by the pandemic. The country has recorded a total of 569,707 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17,589 deaths since reporting its first infections in March, 2020.

The Indonesian economy contracted 5.32 percent in the second quarter and 3.49 percent in the third quarter.

"Our economy contracted 5.32 percent in the second quarter and 3.49 percent in the third quarter. This means it has passed its lowest point and is moving toward a positive trend," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said on December 3, 2020.

With economic activities hampered by COVID-19, the government has relied on the State Budget (APBN) to support COVID-19 handling and economic recovery efforts, as well as provide social assistance to those affected economically by the impact of the pandemic.

Earlier, the President emphasized that four areas will be prioritized in the 2021 State Budget (APBN).

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

GREEN ECONOMY TAKES PRECEDENCE IN PUSH FOR RECOVERY by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 3/12/2020 (ANTARA) - With people forced to lock themselves at home to break the chain of COVID-19 spread, pollution has reduced significantly, allowing people in big cities particularly to enjoy fresh air.

The healing seen in nature, however, will be temporary if people do not change the way they conduct businesses once the coronavirus pandemic ends, observers said.

Hence, economic recovery efforts must be used to build momentum to do better in implementing sustainable development and green economy goals, which would entail long-term benefits for a country such as Indonesia.

A new study by the World Economic Forum has found that nature-positive solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030.

In a press release issued last July, the forum stated that putting nature first is good for business and economic resilience. Nature-positive solutions will create US$10.1 trillion in business opportunities, it informed.

Speaking at the G20 Leaders' Summit, held virtually in November, President Joko Widodo had reiterated Indonesia's commitment to a more sustainable and greener economy.

The government is set to transform the country's economy to offer greater environmental protection, he said.

"Economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer overlook our responsibility to protect nature," Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said quoting the President, following the G20 Summit.

Indonesia has made some breakthroughs, including implementing the mandatory B30 biodiesel policy and conducting a trial for pure palm oil-based diesel (D100), in a bid to make its economy more environmentally safe. B30 refers to a fuel blend containing 30 percent biodiesel produced from palm oil.

Furthermore, the President has also ensured that the Law on Job Creation brings certainty in the legal aspect of environmental permits, including the environmental impact analysis document (AMDAL) for any infrastructure projects in Indonesia.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Indonesia gears for mass COVID-19 immunization by Fardah


 Jakarta, Nov 29, 2020 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government is carrying out simulations to ensure the smooth implementation of its mass COVID-19 immunization program, which is expected to start at the end of this year.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) paid a visit to Bogor, West Java on November 18, 2020 to review a vaccine simulation at a community health center (puskesmas). The next day, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin observed a similar simulation at a Bekasi puskesmas.

The simulations were carried out under strict observance of COVID-19 health protocols, such as maintaining distancing, washing hands, and wearing face masks.

The government is keen to begin its vaccination program in the third week of December, 2020. Over the past few months, it has been proactive in procuring COVID-19 vaccines from various sources through bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

The University of Pandjajaran and state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma have been carrying out the final stage clinical trials of the Sinovac vaccine developed by China since August, and so far, the testing has run relatively smoothly.

Meanwhile, President Widodo has said he is optimistic that COVID-19 vaccines would arrive in late November or December this year. They could be in the form of finished vaccines or raw materials to be processed at Bio Farma in Bandung.

He emphasized that the COVID-19 vaccination program must prioritize the safety and security of people.

Hence, all vaccines that are administered must be registered on the vaccine list of the World Health Organization (WHO). The vaccines are being purchased from companies, whose brands are registered with the WHO, he informed.

"I did not mention the brands, but they must be on the WHO list," he stated.

The government has signed an agreement to procure a total of 143 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine concentrate from three Chinese pharmaceutical firms — Sinovac, Sinopharm, and CanSino, who will provide 65 million, 15 million, and 20 million doses of the vaccine concentrate, respectively.

In addition to China, Indonesia has also sought vaccines from United Arab Emirates (UAE) technology firm G-24, which agreed to send 10 million doses of its vaccine in mid-August through cooperation with state-run pharmaceutical firm PT Kimia Farma.

Indonesia has also procured 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, with the first delivery of the vaccine scheduled in the second quarter of 2021.

After the vaccines arrive in Indonesia, they will undergo several stages of clearance at the Indonesian Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) prior to being
allowed for use. Only after the BPOM clears them will they be used in the immunization program.

Jokowi spoke of his intention to again observe one or two other simulations to ensure that all aspects concerning the vaccination program are being thoroughly prepared.

The COVID-19 vaccination simulation is part of the government's endeavors to acclimatize the public to the COVID-19 vaccination plan and to offer a broad understanding of the importance of vaccine administration to break the chain of COVID-19 to end the pandemic.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

PESANTREN EMERGE AS LYNCHPIN OF ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 22/11/2020 (ANTARA) - Islamic boarding schools, or pesantren, have not only managed to survive in Indonesia since colonial times, but have also assumed a strategic role in national development and economic empowerment, particularly at the grassroots level.

Indonesia has 28,961 pesantren catering to at least 18.5 million students, or santri, and employing about 1.5 million teachers, who are helping shape the future human resources of the nation.

On the occasion of National Santri Day on October 22, 2020, Vice President Maruf Amin urged santris to play an active role in developing the economy.

He said he hoped that pesantren would not only become hubs for producing Muslim clerics, but also centers for economic empowerment.

Amin lauded several community economic programs initiated in cooperation with pesantren, such as the establishment of convenience stores, cooperatives for santri, and the development of a business incubation center for Islamic boarding school students and a mobile apps service.

More collaborations must be done between the Islamic boarding school students and industry players to bring prosperity to the people, he remarked.

Pesantren, as the center of the preaching of Islam, must be made relevant and match the current pace of progress by using digital technology to reach a wider audience, Amin advised.

The government has committed to funding 209,449 Islamic boarding schools and institutions by allocating Rp2.6 trillion ($1.7 billion) in 34 provinces for the 2020-2024 period. The funds are meant to support online learning, operational costs, and healthcare programs for COVID-19 handling in Islamic boarding schools, among other things.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati recently confirmed the government's allocation of Rp2.6 trillion for pesantren and religious education amid the COVID-19 pandemic through the pesantren economic recovery program.

BALANCING INFRASTRUCTURE PUSH WITH CONSERVATION IN LABUAN BAJO by Fardah


Jakarta, 22/11, 2020 (ANTARA) - Infrastructure and facilities are being installed in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai district, East Nusa Tenggara, as part of efforts to turn it into a super premium destination that will host world leaders besides the well-heeled.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who visited Labuan Bajo in January and October this year, has designated it as one of the 10 top priority tourist destinations, tagged Beyond Bali, along with Borobudur in Central Java, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, and Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara.

Indonesia is scheduled to take over the presidency of the G20 and the chairmanship of ASEAN, and the government is intent on preparing Labuan Bajo as the venue for the G20 Summit and the ASEAN Summit in 2023.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio has urged hotels and restaurants in Labuan Bajo to implement health protocols based on Cleanliness, Health, Safety, and Environmental Sustainability (CHSE) standards.

The CHSE certification is crucial for the tourism industry, particularly hotels and restaurants, to reclaim tourist confidence.

"This is aimed at offering a sense of security and comfort to tourists when they visit a destination that applies the health protocols. This certification has been aligned with world tourism organizations, such as the UNWTO and CTTI, as well as the Health Ministry," Kusubandio explained.

With construction in progress, the Komodo National Park has temporarily shut down the Loh Buaya tourist resort, which is situated within the Komodo National Park. The area has facilities for tourists, including cottages, a cafeteria, a shelter, and trails, and has become a popular location to observe wildlife.

It was deemed necessary to temporarily close Loh Buaya to enable the process of rearrangement of the natural tourism facilities and infrastructure on the island, a task that has been entrusted to the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, head of the Komodo National Park, Lukita Awang Nistyantara, explained on November 15, 2020.

Furthermore, the tourist resort has been temporarily closed from October 26, 2020 to June 30, 2021 for improving services and ensuring the safety of tourists, Nistyantara remarked.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Indonesia aims to turn into global halal hub by 2024 by Fardah


 Jakarta, Nov 20, 2020 (ANTARA) - The future market potential for halal products is huge as the Muslim population is growing, including in Europe and America, and is projected to cross 2.2 billion by 2030, according to observers.

 

The global halal market has reached US$1,294.5 million in 2020 and is expected to touch US$1,911.3 million by the end of 2026, reflecting a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.7 percent for the 2021-2026 period, according to Global ‘Halal Market’ 2020 Research Report, released last August.

 

The global halal food market was valued at US$1,140 million in 2018 and is estimated to reach US$1,590 million by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.3 percent in the 2019-2025 period.

 

Brazil, Australia, Japan, North America, and China are among the main halal product producers in the world. But, Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim majority country and the fourth most populous nation in the world, is yet to exploit the potential of the halal business.

 

In 2019, Brazil’s halal product exports were valued at US$5.5 billion and Australia's at US$2.4 billion, Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin said recently, referring to data from the 2019 Global Islamic Economic Report.

 

A professor of Islamic economic law, Amin has set his sights on transforming Indonesia into a global halal product hub by 2024.

 

"We must be able to exploit the potential of the world's halal market by increasing our exports, which currently only account for 3.8 percent of the global halal market," he noted.

 

In 2018, the global demand for halal products stood at US$2.2 trillion, and it is projected to touch US$3.2 trillion by 2024. Amin is hopeful of Indonesia’s chances of emerging as the largest halal producer in the world.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Indonesia aiming for COVID-19 immunization in Dec end by Fardah


Jakarta, Nov 17, 2020 - Over the past few months, the Indonesian government has been proactive in procuring COVID-19 vaccines from various sources as it believes that when the people are healthy, the economy will also be sound.

During a limited cabinet meeting to discuss the plan for procurement and implementation of immunization at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on October 26, 2020, President Joko Widodo called on his rank and file to not delay the completion of the timeline for vaccination by being heedful of several supporting factors.

He ordered officials to immediately formulate a region-wise vaccination plan and map out individuals who need to be vaccinated, including those who will be vaccinated for free and those who will pay for it.

"Everything must be planned and prepared in detail," the President emphasized.

The head of state also called for training and simulations, both for health workers and security personnel, and even volunteers who would later be involved in administering vaccines.

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, disclosed that the COVID-19 vaccination program would likely start in the third week of December, 2020.

The initial vaccination program will target about nine million people, including healthcare workers and law enforcement officials, in Jakarta and Bali, among others.

"We are keen to see Bali become a green zone [with low risk of COVID-19 transmission], which is our target. We are optimistic of Bali becoming a green zone at the start of next year, as we will commence vaccinations in the third week of December," Pandjaitan remarked.

While the vaccination plan is under way, the Task Force for COVID-19 Response said it has ensured the country’s stocks of COVID-19 medications are sufficient and will last till December this year.

Monday, November 9, 2020

LEMPENG PISANG

               

Bahan :
10buah pisang masak
8 atau 10 sdm tepung terigu
1butir telur ayam
100g kelapa parut
50ml santan kental (me: skip)
2sdm gulapasir
1sdt garam
Mentega (minyak) secukupnya

Cara memasak :
Hancurkan pisang atau potong kecil-kecil (tidak perlu sampai hancur)
Masukkan telur, tepung terigu, gula dan garam, aduk rata. Tambahkan kelapa parut sambil di aduk-aduk hingga tercampur rata, adonan akhir cenderung kental.
Panaskan wajan anti lengket (teflon) yang sudah dioles mentega, dengan api kecil.
Tuang adonan pisang, ratakan. Tunggu hingga matang (seperti gosong) lalu balik dan tunggu hingga kedua sisinya matang sempurna. Sajikan selagi hangat

Friday, November 6, 2020

Government convinced Job Creation Law will boost public welfare by Fardah

Jakarta Nov 7, 2020 (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) finally signed the Job Creation Bill on November 2, 2020, officially making it Law Number 11 of 2020 on Job Creation that spans 1,187 pages and 15 chapters.

"Alhamdulillah, I profusely thank all Indonesian people and Allah SWT," Presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman stated after the signing.

Rachman affirmed that the Job Creation Law was for all Indonesians and the future of onward Indonesia.

The country's first omnibus law covers areas, including on improvement of the investment ecosystem and business activities; employment; protection and empowerment of cooperatives and UMKM; ease of doing business; national fiscal policy; and research and innovation support.

Widodo proposed the bill after being re-elected as Indonesia's president for the 2019-2024 term. At his swearing-in ceremony on October 20, 2019, the president had urged the Parliament to complete deliberations on the omnibus law within 100 days.

The government completed the draft of the omnibus bill on February 12, 2020. On October 5, 2020, the House of Representatives (DPR) had endorsed the Bill on Job Creation following deliberations since April 2, 2020.

The government claimed that all stakeholders in the country were involved in the drafting of the bill, including the Manpower Ministry, experts, businessmen, and labor union representatives.

However, following its Parliamentary approval, the law was rejected by several labor unions, activists, and university lecturers, who opined that it would be detrimental to the interests of workers and endanger the environment.

The president blamed disinformation and social media hoaxes for the widespread opposition to the Job Creation Law.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

INDONESIA SERIOUS ABOUT HOSTING 2032 OLYMPICS: WIDODO TO TELL IOC by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 5 Nov 2020 -President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is scheduled to visit Switzerland to demonstrate Indonesia’s seriousness and readiness to host the 2032 Olympics.

 He plans to personally convince the Olympic International Committee (OIC ) to choose Indonesia as the host of the world’s foremost and largest sporting event.

 "We have successfully organized the Asian Games and Asian Para Games in 2018. This raises confidence and improves the world’s perception that Indonesia is capable of being a good host for international events," he emphasized during a virtual limited cabinet meeting to discuss Indonesia's bid for hosting the 2032 Olympics, at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on November 3, 2020.

 Jokowi had first voiced his intention of hosting the Olympics on September 1, 2018 while receiving OIC president Thomas Bach and chief of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Syekh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, at the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java.

 On February 19, 2019, Indonesia made its 2032 Olympics bid official, with the dispatch of letters from President Widodo and the Indonesian Olympic Committee to the IOC in Lausanne.

 Indonesia's bid to host the 2032 Olympics is not meant for showing off, but rather aimed at raising the nation's image and dignity, Jokowi said.

 "This is because we have to make this candidacy a momentum to organize ourselves and to improve various aspects that have been lacking so far," he added.

 He said he has instructed his staff to prepare sports infrastructure, improve coaching for athletes, and increase global visibility for Indonesia as a potential host for the 2032 Olympics, among other things.

 The selection process to host the 2032 Olympics will be held in 2023, and the results will be determined in 2024.

  The 2032 Olympics will be a Summer Olympics. Paris (France) and Los Angeles (United States) have won the ticket to host the Olympics in 2024 and 2028, respectively.

 Indonesia is expected to compete with Australia, Germany, Korea, Qatar, and China for hosting the 2032 Olympics.

 While speaking to reporters, Thomas Bach, who had attended the closing ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, had said: "To answer your question, yes, I think Indonesia's chances (of hosting the Olympics) are quite high."

Friday, October 23, 2020

'HIDDEN PARADISE' SETS SIGHTS ON WELL-HEELED TRAVELERS by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 24/10, 2020 (ANTARA) - If all goes according to plan, Indonesias hidden paradise Labuan Bajo will soon be transformed into a super premium tourist destination that will host world leaders besides the well-heeled.

Located in West Manggara district, East Nusa Tenggara province, which is considered as one of the least developed regions in eastern Indonesia, Labuan Bajo is blessed with stunning beaches of white and even pink sand, crystal clear waters, mountains, intact forested isles and valleys, with traditional villages at the center.

 

The tourist site has another appeal: it serves as a gateway to the Komodo National Park, home to the worlds only surviving giant lizard, the Komodo Dragon. The park is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

 

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who visited Labuan Bajo twice this year in January and October, has designated it as one of the 10 top priority tourist destinations, dubbed as Beyond Bali, along with Borobudur in Central Java, Lake Toba in North Sumatra, and Mandalika in West Nusa Tenggara.

 

Furthermore, the government is determined to develop Labuan Bajo as a super premium tourist attraction. Keen to showcase Labuan Baju to world leaders, President Jokowi is planning to host ASEAN and G20 Summits at the site in 2023.

 

More importantly, we also want to prepare Labuan Bajo [to host] the G20 [Summit] in 2023 and the ASEAN Summit in 2023, he said, noting that in 2023, Indonesia is scheduled to hold the presidency of the G20 and the chairmanship of ASEAN.

 

The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has been tasked with developing infrastructure and facilities in Tana Mori and Tana Naga isles in Labuan Bajo, in cooperation with PT PP (Persero) Tbk.

 

"We plan to make Tana Mori a high-end resort in Labuan Bajo akin to Bali's Nusa Dua," development director of state-owned ITDC, Edwin Darmasetiawan, stated recently.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

INDONESIA BRACES FOR LA NINA-INDUCED HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL DISASTERS by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 23/10 , 2020 (ANTARA) - The onset of monsoons in most Indonesian regions in September have also triggered flooding in several provinces, including Jakarta, West Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, West Java, South Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, and West Sumatra.

Indonesia, with monsoon and dry seasons, is prone to natural disasters, and usually some 75 percent of the disasters are hydrometeorological in nature, such as flooding, landslides, and strong winds.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported that during the period from January to Oct 17 this year, Indonesia had recorded 2,276 natural disasters.

The hydrometeorological disasters comprised 827 floods, 637 whirlwinds, and 416 landslides.

The disasters affected 4.5 million people, with 307 individuals losing their lives, 25 persons going missing, and 469 people sustaining injuries. In addition, the disasters caused light, moderate, to serious damage to 35,176 houses and 1,481 public facilities.

The agency also recorded a total of 321 forest and land fires and five volcanic eruptions over the period of time.

In connection with non-natural disasters, chiefly the COVID-19 pandemic, until Oct 23, Indonesia had reported 381,910 confirmed cases, and 13,077 COVID-19 patients had succumbed to the infectious disease.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned that La Nina natural phenomenon is currently developing until the end of this year, and its impact, notably rainfall, with high precipitation, will peak in January and February and gradually end in March and April 2021.

La Nina, known for causing torrential downpours and widespread flooding across the country, is expected to increase rainfall by nearly 40 percent throughout the country.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

labu siem pedes

 sayur labu siam kuah pedas.
bahan dasar.
- 1buah labu siam besar iris memanjang.
- telur ayam direbus
- 4 buah tahu digoreng
- bawang goreng.
- santan kara 1 bungkus yg kecil
bumbu tumis..
- bawang merah  6 siung iris2
- bawang putih 4 siung iris2
- cabe merah besar 3 buah rebus sebentar kemudian dihaluskan
- cabe rawit utuh 6
bumbu cemplung.
- daun salam 2 lembar
- laos satu ruas geprek
- garam secukupnya
- bubuk kaldu jàmur 1 sendok makan
- gula merah secukupnya.
langkah2
labu siang lumuri dgn garam   sisih kan kira 10 menit.
tahu yg sdh digoreng di potong jadi dua .
tumis bawang  putih kemudian bawang merah, setelah ranum masukan daun salam, laos geprek, cabe merah yg sdh di haluskan dan cabe rawit  aduk2 hingga ranum ,lalu masukan santan kara ýg sdh di kasih air kira2 1 liter aduk2 hingga mendidih, setelah itu masukan tahu ,labu siam dan telur kemudian tambahkan garam  ,gula merah dan bubuk kaldu jàmur  aduk hingga mendidih , setelah matang taburi bawang goreng....
itu ceu yuyum .. silahkan mencobanya..

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Political turmoil amid COVID-19, economic recession can add to burden by Fardah

Jakarta, Oct 13, 2020 (ANTARA) - Indonesia has been struggling hard to survive the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and its major impacts, notably the economic recession.

The country’s tally of confirmed cases reached 336,716, total recoveries at 258,519, and death toll at 11,935. It was ranked 21st on the Worldometer’s COVID-19 list of over 200 countries on Oct 13, 2020.

The country saw an economic contraction of 5.32 percent in the second quarter of 2020. Several million Indonesians became jobless owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation had to face another burden caused by a political turmoil marked by major rallies on Oct 6-8 and Oct 13, in several cities following the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) decision to endorse the government-proposed Job Creation Law on Oct 5, 2020.

The government affirmed that every stakeholder, including the representatives of employers, trade unions, academicians, and experts, were involved in drafting the Job Creation Law, Indonesia’s first omnibus law comprising 79 laws. The draft law was also introduced to the public, it stated.

On Oct 9, President Joko Widodo had highlighted numerous benefits of the law intended to boost domestic and foreign investment and create job opportunities for Indonesian workers. The law aims to protect the interests of Indonesian workers and the environment as well as boost the economy.

However, trade unions, students, several university lecturers, and activists hold diverse opinions, as they harbor concerns over the law benefiting companies rather than workers, as it would encourage outsourcing the employment system, allow foreign blue-collar workers to work in Indonesia, and endanger the environment.

Exchange of words continue unabated via mainstream and social media, but no solution lies in sight, as some people, including legislators, affirmed that work was still ongoing on the final draft of the law. When the Parliament endorsed the law, hard copies of the final draft were not distributed to the attending MPs.

"No, (we did not receive hard copies of the final draft). It is not yet completed, but it is already endorsed. What is being endorsed is a ghost bill," Benny Kabur Harman, the Democratic Party legislator, who decided to walk out while the endorsement was ongoing, stated.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Omnibus law protests highlight need for dialogue by Fardah


 Jakarta, Oct 10 , 2020 (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo’s goal of getting Indonesia’s first ever omnibus bill passed into law has finally been realized after six months of deliberations.

On October 5, 2020, the House of Representatives (DPR) endorsed the proposed legislation, which comprises 79 laws and spans 905 pages.

Six political parties — PDIP, Golkar, PKB, NasDem, PPP, and Gerindra — firmly endorsed the omnibus bill; the National Mandate Party (PAN) endorsed it, but with some notes; while, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Democratic Party (PD) opposed the bill.

The bill was proposed by Widodo after he was re-elected as Indonesia's President for the 2019-2024 term. At his swearing-in ceremony on October 20, 2019, Jokowi had asked the Parliament to complete deliberations on the omnibus law within 100 days.

The government completed the draft omnibus bill on February 12, 2020, and the Parliament began discussing it on April 2, 2020.

The government has claimed that all stakeholders in the country were involved in the drafting of the bill, including the Manpower Ministry, experts, businessmen, and labor union representatives. And, it was widely publicized among the public, both the government and the DPR have claimed.

However, following its Parliamentary approval, the law has been rejected by many labor unions, activists, and university lecturers, who have said it would harm workers’ interests and endanger the environment.

Their opposition centers on certain fundamental issues covered by the law, which, they feel, would be disadvantageous to workers. The issues pertain to reducing severance pay, implementing a contract and outsourcing system, setting minimum wages, and the potential loss of health insurance and pensions for workers owing to the implementation of contract-based employment and outsourcing, among other things.

“Our concerns are that the omnibus bill will hurt labor. Because some of the regulations will allow foreign unskilled workers (to be employed), it will be a massive use of outsourcing, flexible working hours, and a change in payroll scheme from monthly to hourly,” chairman of the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI), Said Iqbal, noted in a statement.

Starting October 6, 2020, labor unions had called for a nationwide strike and rallies in several Indonesian cities. University students, vocational students, activists, and other elements also joined the rallies.

On October 8, 2020, the third consecutive day of protests, the rallies took a violent turn, leading to several protesters and policemen getting injured, and 18 bus stops and one MRT station suffering damage downtown of Jakarta.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

AS INFECTIONS SPIKE, JAKARTA PRIORITIZES HEALTH OVER RECOVERY by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 4/10/2020 (ANTARA) - Several Indonesian provinces reported a sharp spike in coronavirus infections in August and September, with the highest single-day rise of 4,494 cases recorded nationally on September 26, 2020, to which Jakarta alone contributed 1,322 cases.

When the Indonesian capital celebrated its 493rd anniversary on June 24 this year, it had clocked 195 fresh COVID-19 cases over a 24-hour period, which had taken its total tally to 10,472. Nationwide, the tally had reached 49,009, with 1,113 fresh cases registered that day.

In comparison, Indonesias COVID-19 tally was pegged at 200,506 cases as of October 3 this year, with 4,007 fresh cases reported in the previous 24 hours. Jakarta accounted for 1,265 of the total infections, which took its total caseload to 77,452.This surge in infections has not just been seen in Indonesia, but in many countries across the world after they relaxed COVID-19 measures from May this year, when the rate of infections slowed, to make way for the new normal.

The Indonesian government also eased restrictions starting May to begin the transition to the new normal in several regions, including Jakarta, where the number of COVID-19 cases had shown a declining trend.

Jakarta had imposed Large-Scale Social Distancing (PSBB) measures for the first time from April, to June 3, 2020. Starting from June 4, the capital city had implemented a transitional PSBB as part of the shift towards the new normal.

However, after the COVID-19 infection rate climbed, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan decided to re-enforce PSBB measures from September 14, 2020 for a period of 14 days.

The measures include imposition of sanctions and fines on those found violating the health protocols, which prescribe wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, restricting the capacity of spaces, and refraining from activities that lead to gathering of crowds.

Considering the emergency situation in Jakarta, there are no other choices, but to put the emergency brakes. This means that we have to implement the PSBB as it was in the beginning of the pandemic. This is the emergency brake that we have to pull, Baswedan said on September 9, 2020.

Data shows infections were climbing in Jakarta at the time: The capital city had recorded 7,960 active cases on August 30, 2020, and 12 days later, on September 11, 2020, the number had jumped to 11,824 active cases, an increase of 3,864 cases, or 49 percent.

According to data provided by the Jakarta provincial government, over 12 days of the PSBB implementation from September 12-23, 2020, the number of active cases was recorded at 13,277, an increase of 1,453, or 12 percent, compared to the figure for September 11.

Despite the slowing of active cases, the Jakarta authorities have remained vigilant over concerns the infections could spike again.

Therefore, Anies Baswedan has decided to extend the PSBB until October 11, 2020, by enforcing health protocols focusing on the 3Ms (wearing masks, maintaining distance, and washing hands) .

The Association of Indonesia's Indigenous Businessmen (HIPPI), Jakarta chapter, has said it understands the Jakarta Governors rationale for extending the PSBB measures.

In a statement released recently, chairman of HIPPI Jakarta, Sarman Simanjorang, said entrepreneurs have no choice but to support the policy.

The PSBB extension has burdened entrepreneurs owing to minimal transactions, a fall in turnover of up to 80 percent, decrease in cash flow, and increase in operating costs, he noted.

"But this is a risk that we must face and share. Our hope is that this PSBB is the last one so that there is certainty for the business sector," he said.

According to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), the nations main focus is handling the COVID-19 pandemic as economic recovery will follow suit.

However, on September 14, 2020, he asked regional heads to not be hasty in imposing lockdowns in their territories to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

Once again, do not rush to close an area, city, or district, and if we work based on data, the intervention steps will be more effective and can immediately solve problems on the field, Jokowi remarked while chairing a limited cabinet meeting at the Merdeka Palace.

To deal with the rise in infections, Jakarta has increased the number of referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients from 67 to 100. The authorities have later added 13 regional public hospitals (RSUD) and 26 private hospitals on the list of referral hospitals for COVID-19 treatment.

Furthermore, the government has instructed that residents who test positive for COVID-19 undergo self-quarantine at facilities offered by the government.

However, it is also allowing people to self-isolate at home as per the requisite criteria.

"Well, the point is that every citizen exposed to and infected with COVID-19 must undergo independent isolation, either individually or through government facilities, but not without control," Governor Baswedan explained.

Several hotels are also offering rooms for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, in accordance with President Widodos directions. Currently, at least 15 one-, two-, and three-star rated hotels are being readied as quarantine facilities.

The decision has been taken on account of the high number of COVID-19 family clusters.

Patients exposed to COVID-19 who have undergone independent isolation at home could raise the likelihood of virus transmission, Baswedan stated.

One positive news is that the COVID-19 recovery rate in Jakarta has reached 75.2 percent of the total cases, according to Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto.

"The central government is paying special attention to the situation development and will always increase the capacity of hospitals and health facilities," he stated.

Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Hasbullah Thabrany, a community health expert, has lauded the decision of the Jakarta Governor to re-enforce the PSBB to check the spike in COVID-19 cases, saying strict implementation of PSBB will effectively control the virus spread.

In the past, when PSBB implementation had not been relaxed, it had proved quite effective in controlling (COVID-19 transmission). After relaxing it, the number of cases increased. So, it must be tightened again, Thabrany noted.

The tightening of PSBB would certainly have an impact on the economy, but the government has a bigger responsibility -- prioritizing public health above other interests, he remarked.

So, by prioritizing public health, it is hoped economic recovery would also be realized more quickly "lest people whose businesses are affected influence the government to not implement strict PSBB", he said.

He said anyone who disagrees with the strict implementation of the PSBB must be held responsible for the impact of the spike in COVID-19 cases on public health.

"If they are willing to (take) the responsibility, to pay the (medical cost) of someone infected with (COVID-19), go ahead," he averred.

In addition to strict PSBB, the Jakarta authorities must also impose a curfew to limit outdoor activities at night, he advised.  
 
 

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(T.H-FDH/A/R013/R013) 04-10-2020 04:36:45

Saturday, September 26, 2020

AUTHORITIES PRESCRIBE AGAINST NON-ESSENTIAL HOSPITAL VISITS AMID PANDEMIC by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 26/9/2020  (ANTARA) - People usually go to the hospital to be rid of disease, but a visit to the hospital is not entirely free of risk as they too can contribute to the spread of infections, especially nowadays.

This has been evidenced by hospitals emerging as the largest COVID-19 clusters amid the ongoing pandemic.

Therefore, children and pregnant women have been strongly advised against visiting hospitals if they are not sick. Many hospitals have even barred entry to children.

Not just visitors, but healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, and cleaners risk exposure to disease while working at hospitals, particularly in the current pandemic.

In Manokwari, West Papua, about 38 healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 as of September 22, 2020, prompting the closure of several public health facilities to break the chain of virus transmission.

Of the 38 healthcare workers, 26 worked at hospitals and 12 at community health centers (Puskesmas), Henri Sembiring, head of the Manokwari Task Force for COVID-19 Response, stated recently.

The Manokwari authorities have closed three Puskesmas -- Pasir Putih, Sanggeng, and Maripi -- as well as the surgery room at the Manokwari Regional Hospital after healthcare workers contracted COVID-19.

Similar reports have come in from several regions across Indonesia. Since the country announced its first two COVID-19 cases on March 2, 2020, at least 117 doctors and 70 nurses have succumbed to the deadly virus.

According to data provided by the Task Force for COVID-19 Response on September 26, 2020, Indonesia has recorded 4,494 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total caseload to 271,339. With 90 more people succumbing to the disease, the death toll has reached 10,308.

In a positive development, as many as 3,207 COVID-19 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 199,403.

Jakarta has recorded the highest number of new cases at 1,322 and the highest number of recoveries at 764, followed by West Java, which has reported 386 fresh cases and 622 recoveries, while East Java has seen 279 fresh cases and 338 patients recovering in the last 24 hours.

Earlier, the Task Force had noted that hospitals had emerged as the largest contributors of confirmed coronavirus cases.

During the period from June 4 to September 12, 2020, clusters arose mostly from hospitals, communities, and offices, with the maximum number of COVID-19 cases (contributed by them). There are 24 thousand patients infected at hospitals in Jakarta," Wiku Adisasmito, spokesperson for the task force, said on September 22 2020.

Dr. Dewi Nur Aisyah, head of the task force's data and information technology section, has also confirmed that in Jakarta, 63.46 percent of the total cases have originated from patients visiting hospitals.

The second largest cluster in Jakarta has been the cluster of patients in the community, who have accounted for 15,133 cases, or 39.36 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in the capital city.

So, if one person tests positive, it should be traced who he has made contact with so far. The family cluster is included in this category," she said.

Meanwhile, the third cluster that has contributed the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Jakarta is the office cluster.