Monday, May 2, 2022

Eid vibe returns in Indonesia after two years of restrictions by Fardah


 Jakarta, May 2, 2022 (ANTARA) - Over 200 million Indonesians celebrated Eid al-Fitr in full swing on Monday following the government’s decision to relax COVID-19 restrictions given the significant drop in the number of infections of late.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on April 2, 2022, announced that the government would allow people to go home this year provided they complete the vaccination requirements and follow the health protocols, such as wearing face masks.

As of May 2, a total of 199,346,528 Indonesians have been fully vaccinated out of the targeted 208,265,720.

Indonesian Muslims joyfully welcomed the announcement on the relaxations allowing Indonesians to celebrate Eid in their hometowns and perform Eid prayers in open fields as they normally do.

"I am feeling happy because I can finally go home, after a long time of not going home. Now, I can celebrate Eid in my hometown," Sari Novita, who traveled to Bangka, Bangka Belitung province, Sumatra Island, from Tanjung Priok Port, North Jakarta, Java Island, said on April 28.

The government has set collective leave on April 29 and May 4–6. This means that people have vacation time from April 29 to May 8.

"Thank God, in this year's Eid al-Fitr, we are able to gather with family, meet parents, and relatives in our hometown," the President said on the eve of Eid al-Fitr on May 1.

This is the third Eid al-Fitr amid the COVID-19 pandemic for Indonesian Muslims, who could not celebrate it normally in 2020 and 2021 owing to strict restrictions imposed by the government that banned them from holding mass Eid prayers and from returning to their hometowns under the annual exodus tradition called “mudik” to celebrate the Islamic festival with their relatives.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

HARMONIZING HEALTH PROTOCOL STANDARDS EXPECTED TO HELP BOOST MOBILITY by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 31/3/2022 (ANTARA) - With many countries struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pummelled the health and economic sectors over the past two years, Indonesia has chosen Recover Together, Recover Stronger as the theme of its G20 Presidency.

The country has identified three priorities in the G20 Health Working Group (HWG), according to Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, secretary of the Public Health Directorate of the Health Ministry.

The priorities are building global health system resilience, harmonizing global health protocol standards, and expanding global manufacturing and knowledge centers for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.

"Having learned a lesson on COVID-19 handling, Indonesias G20 Presidency is aimed at promoting the world to recover together and stronger in the post-COVID-19 pandemic (era). Thats the message, Tarmizi remarked.

Hence, the country is hoping that the G20 will make a commitment to developing a mechanism to mobilize financing resources and health facilities and infrastructure, particularly for countries that cannot afford to fund COVID-19 handling.

"Indonesia has a strong foundation in gotong royong (mutual help). This will be transmitted. Under the spirit of gotong royong, it doesn't matter whether a country is capable or not, but every nation should contribute to helping each other," Tarmizi said.

Under Indonesias Presidency, G20 is scheduled to hold three meetings of HWG. The first meeting was organized in Yogyakarta from March 28 to 30, 2022.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the synchronization of global health protocols could begin with G20 countries to enable smoother application and make international travel easier.

"We can start from the G20. That way it will facilitate the adoption of this health protocol standard in other countries," Minister Sadikin said during a G20 HWG press conference on 'Harmonizing Global Health Protocol Standards' in Yogyakarta on March 28.

The measure is aimed at ensuring that there are unified standards with regard to regulations on PCR tests and quarantine, among others, which differ from country to country at present.

The minister said that health protocol standards for international travel can be changed, just like the global immigration system.

He further said he is confident that the adoption of global health protocol standards can be achieved given the current state of digital technology development.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

MINISTRIES JOIN HANDS IN FIGHT AGAINST STUNTING by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 26/3 /2022 ANTARA) - The Indonesian government has been fighting against stunting, which is characterized by growth failure in children under the age of two due to long periods of malnutrition, for decades.

The prolonged fight has been crucial for the fate of the nation because stunting poses a long-term danger for the future of children as it hinders brain development, causes mental degradation, and reduces studying capability.

Other impacts of stunting on children include a decline in cognitive capability, suboptimal body posture during adulthood, and increased risk of chronic disease with age such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, Professor Rini Sekartini from the University of Indonesia's Faculty of Medicine noted during a webinar on stunting recently.

Stunting eradication efforts have involved various ministries, institutions, and relevant stakeholders. The fight, however, has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years.

"COVID-19 has a big contribution in delaying stunting eradication. Several regions such as East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) have experienced a drastic increase in stunting cases," Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, said while accompanying President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to a visit to NTT province on March 24, 2022.

Data from the 2021 Indonesias Nutrition Status Study (SSGI) place 15 districts in NTT in red status, with the stunting prevalence rate of more than 30 percent.

The districts comprise South Central Timor, North Central Timor, Alor, Southwest Sumba, East Manggarai, Kupang, Rote Ndao, Belu, West Manggarai, West Sumba, Central Sumba, Sabu Raijua, Manggarai, Lembata, and Malaka.

Five of these districts are in the top 10 regions with the highest stunting prevalence in Indonesia out of 246 districts or cities in 12 provinces that are being prioritized for accelerating stunting reduction.

Of the 12 prioritized provinces, 7 provinces have recorded the highest rate of stunting in the country: East Nusa Tenggara (37.8 percent), West Sulawesi (33.8 percent), Aceh (33.2 percent), West Nusa Tenggara (31.4 percent), Southeast Sulawesi (30 percent), West Kalimantan (29.8 percent), and Central Sulawesi (29.7 percent).

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

After MotoGP, Mandalika Street Circuit awaits more sports events


 Jakarta , March 23, 2022 (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has expressed pleasure over the successful implementation of the 2022 Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia (MotoGP) at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

The MotoGP race was held from March 18 to 20.

"This is a big event of a very extraordinary motorsport and I want to express my deepest gratitude, especially to the people of NTB, particularly Lombok, who have given their full support," Widodo said while watching the final day of the motorbike race.

Red Bull KTM rider Miguel Oliveira won the race after completing 20 laps at the Mandalika Circuit in 33 minutes 27.223 seconds.

Monster Energy Yamaha world champion Fabio Quartararo settled for second place after finishing 2.205 seconds after Oliveira, and Ducati rider Johann Zarco was the third podium winner who received the Indonesian Grand Prix trophy from the President.

Despite the success, Widodo promised to improve some aspects during the next implementation of MotoGP races as Mandalika and Dorna Sports, as MotoGP commercial rights holders, have long-term cooperation contracts.

The Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia at Mandalika marked the first time the prestigious racing event was held in the country in 25 years.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Balancing new capital development with orangutan habitat preservation by Fardah


 The Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration is accelerating the development of the new capital named Nusantara— an old Javanese word that reflects Indonesia’s archipelagic status as a nation of 17 thousand islands.

The government has picked a part of North Penajam Paser District and a part of Kutai Kartanegara District in East Kalimantan Province as the location for the new capital, which is often referred to as IKN.

"The most ideal (location for) the new capital city is in part of North Penajam Paser District and part of Kutai Kartanegara District, East Kalimantan Province," President Widodo said at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on August 26, 2019.

East Kalimantan is located on Kalimantan Island or Borneo, which is known as the “lung of the world” on account of its vast primary forests that are vital for absorbing CO2 emissions and thereby, mitigating the impact of climate change.

The new Indonesian capital will span 256,142 hectares of land, or four times the present capital Jakarta's size, and 68,189 hectares of marine area.

The government, however, has assured that the location chosen for the IKN project contains no primary forests, but industrial forest areas.

It has also assured that the development of IKN would not damage local forests, as natural conditions would be taken into account during construction.

"We must not perceive that our efforts to relocate the capital will damage the forests," Widodo said on February 22, 2022, while speaking about the US$32-billion IKN megaproject.

The government is committed to ensuring that 70 percent of the new capital area is reserved as a green area to ensure the capital remains green, according to the President.

"The new capital will have many green areas and forests. All aspects in the capital, including the transportation system, water and electricity system, infrastructures, communications, and public services, will be managed by modern technologies," he informed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

INDONESIA MULLS PANDEMIC TO ENDEMIC SHIFT by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 9/3/2022 (ANTARA) - It has been two years since the World Health Organization (WHO), on March 11, 2020, declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic amid a drastic spike in infections globally.

Indonesia, which announced its first COVID-19 cases on March 2, 2020, has been battling the virus and has managed to control three waves of infections triggered by the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variants of COVID-19, respectively.

The country has seen a downward trend after intensifying the implementation of health protocols, such as wearing masks and keeping a safe distance, and stepping up vaccinations to control virus spread.

On March 8, 2022, Indonesia logged 30,148 fresh COVID-19 cases, 55,128 recoveries, and 401 deaths amid the third wave triggered by the Omicron variant.

The nations Task Force for COVID-19 Handling pegged the total number of cases at 5,800,253, recoveries at 5,226,530, and deaths 150,831, as of March 8, 2022.

According to data provided by the Health Ministry, as of March 7, nearly 192,134,689 Indonesians have received their first COVID-19 jab, 148,347,458 have been fully vaccinated, and 12,698,131 have received the booster dose.

The government has set a target of vaccinating at least 208 million of its over 270 million population to achieve herd immunity. The national vaccination drive started on January 13, 2021.

The first dose vaccination coverage has so far touched 92.2 percent while complete dose coverage has reached 71.03 percent and booster coverage is still below 10 percent of the target.

The government is currently preparing a road map to support Indonesias gradual transition from the pandemic to endemic phase, according to the governments spokesperson for COVID-19 handling, Reisa Broto Asmoro.

The road map will be used to normalize community activities gradually through virus control policies, setting a hospital occupancy limit, and suppressing the death rate to ensure it remains at a low level, she elaborated.

The road map has been drafted by carefully taking some things into account, not only related to health and science, but also several aspects of people's lives such as social, cultural, and economic aspects, she said.

In order to get ready for an endemic period, the tracking capacity must also be improved, and this will require cooperation from all parties in implementing the health protocols, she added.

"The community also has a role to play in halting the spread of COVID-19, and so far, we have learned for two years long, to start living by adapting to new habits that we do every day," she said on March 7.

Hence, the pre-endemic health protocols are also being finalized and they will be implemented as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, she added.

The pre-endemic health protocols have been prepared by involving various stakeholders such as epidemiologists and health practitioners, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, informed on March 7.

The protocols include the cessation of negative antigen or PCR tests requirements for fully vaccinated domestic travelers arriving via land, sea, and air, she said.

 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

GOVT BOLSTERS STRATEGIES AS OMICRON WAVE SWEEPS INDONESIA by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 16/2/2022 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is currently witnessing the third wave of COVID-19 infections triggered by the Omicron variant, which, though less deadly, is much more infectious than the Delta variant.

The country added 64,718 daily COVID-19 cases on February 16, 2022, surpassing the second waves peak single-day addition of 56,757 cases on July 15, 2021.

Most of the new infections reported were contributed by West Java (14,058), followed by Jakarta (9,482), East Java (7,528), Banten (6,509), Central Java (3,514), and Bali (1,862), according to the Task Force for COVID-19 Handling.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indonesia in March 2020, while the Ministry of Health detected the first Omicron infection on December 15, 2021.

As of February 15, 2022, the countrys total COVID-19 case count has reached 4,901,328, while total recoveries have been recorded at 4,349,848 and total deaths at 145,455.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 spike, the situation is relatively under control as the hospital bed occupancy rate is quite low, and medicines and supporting facilities are adequately available, officials said.

Taking note of the surge, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked citizens to remain calm and disciplined in implementing the health protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19 transmission.

"I call on the people at large to stay calm, disciplined in implementing the health protocols, and reduce their unnecessary activities," he tweeted on his official Twitter account on February 13, 2022.

Omicron is more transmissible, but its infection fatality rate is less severe than the Delta variant, he noted while urging unvaccinated Indonesians to get the shots immediately.

"The COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are also needed for eligible persons who fully get vaccinated," he said.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

INDONESIA ACCELERATES VACCINATION DRIVE AMID THREAT OF OMICRON SPREAD By Fardah

 

Jakarta, 21/1/2022 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government has expedited the implementation of the vaccination drive, including booster shot offers, following the surfacing of the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron that has spread in several countries.

Optimizing the vaccination campaign has become increasingly urgent, as the nation has reported a nearly fivefold increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks, according to the COVID-19 Handling Task Force.

The number of COVID-19 cases had increased, from 1,123 to 5,454 in the past three weeks, spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, Wiku Adisasmito, stated on January 20, 2022.

The number of active COVID-19 cases this week reached 8,605, an increase of three thousand as compared to the previous week when the number of cases totalled 5,494. The spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia is mostly due to local transmission.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indonesia in March 2020. As of January 20, 2022, at least 4,277,644 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the country, while 4,121,117 people had recovered, and 144,199 people had succumbed to the virus.



The Health Ministry detected the first Omicron case in Indonesia on December 15, 2021. As of January 20, 2022, the ministry has recorded as many as 882 Omicron cases in the country.

Based on data from the COVID-19 Task Force, as of January 20, a total of 179,153,744 Indonesians had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 122,378,266 people had received the second dose.

Overall, the government is targeting to fully vaccinate 208,265,720 Indonesians out of the nations population of over 273 million.

In addition, 1,328,659, or 90.46 percent of the health workers have been administered the booster vaccine.

The Indonesian government, on January 12, 2022, rolled out booster vaccinations for the public, in general, who have completed six months since having received the second COVID-19 dose.

Booster vaccinations, which are free and not mandatory, aim to offer additional protection to individuals amid the emergence of the Omicron strain.

Friday, January 14, 2022

INDONESIA'S BOOSTER SHOT DRIVE PRIORITIZES ELDERLY By Fardah

 

Jakarta, 15/1/2022 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government on January 12, 2022, rolled out booster vaccinations for those who have completed six months since receiving the second COVID-19 dose.

The booster vaccinations, which are free and not mandatory, aim to offer additional protection to individuals amid the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, notably Omicron.

"I have decided that the COVID-19 booster vaccine will be free of charge for all Indonesians because once again I emphasize that people's safety is our first priority," President Joko Widodo said while announcing the booster shot drive on January 11.

"The government will start administering the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from January 12. We will prioritize the vaccine for the elderly and vulnerable groups," he added.

The booster vaccine is considered important for increasing the community's immunity in view of the fact that the coronavirus has continued to mutate, he said.

However, after receiving the booster vaccine, people must remain disciplined in implementing the health protocols, such as maintaining distance, wearing face masks, and washing hands, he added.

Based on data from the Ministry of Health, as of January 12, a total of 171,056,204 Indonesians have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (82.13 percent of the target) and 117,333,660 people have received the second dose (56.34 percent of the target).