Saturday, November 5, 2022

AFTER KANJURUHAN TRAGEDY, INDONESIA PURSUES FOOTBALL TRANSFORMATION by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 6/11/2022 (ANTARA) - The Kanjuruhan stadium stampede in Malang district, East Java, on October 1, 2022, which left 135 people, including 43 children, dead, 93 seriously injured, and 484 lightly wounded, has emerged as one of the deadliest disasters in world football history.

Two separate investigationsone conducted by the joint independent fact-finding team (TGIPF) formed by the Indonesian government and another by the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM)have confirmed that the use of tear gas by the police triggered the deadly crowd crush.

Their findings are in accordance with information provided by eyewitnesses and survivors of the stampede.

TGIPF, which was headed by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD, submitted the results of its investigation to President Joko Widodo on October 14. Meanwhile, Komnas HAM shared the results of its investigation with the press on November 2.

This has indeed been our standing point from the start. Tear gas was the main trigger for the deaths, injuries, or trauma, a member of the commission, Choirul Anam, said at a press conference in Jakarta on November 2.

The police fired tear gas 45 times during the incident, according to another Komnas HAM member, Beka Ulung Hapsara.

The Kanjuruhan stampede occurred following a football match between Arema FC of Malang and Persebaya of Surabaya. Only supporters of Arema were present at the stadium during the match, as supporters of Persebaya were not allowed into the stadium due to security concerns.

Chaos broke out at the stadium when several Arema supporters stormed the pitch after the team lost 23 to Persebaya.

The Malang police, who were supported by military personnel in guarding the match, tried to restore order by firing tear gas, among other measures.

On October 20, Minister Mahfud said that the police and the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) were equally responsible for the incident.

 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

INDONESIANS ADVISED VIGILANCE AS COVID SHADOW LOOMS AGAIN by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 31/10/2022 (ANTARA) - After enjoying nearly normal life for about six months, Indonesians are now once again being asked to increase vigilance and observe health protocols strictly amid a spike in infections following the emergence of the XBB sub-variant of Omicron.

Based on data provided by the Task Force for COVID-19 Handling (covid19.go.id), as of October 31, 2022, noon, Indonesia has added 2,717 daily cases, with 24,544 people hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment.

The government has confirmed that the number of daily cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia has risen, with a corresponding increase recorded in the bed occupancy rate (BOR) at COVID-19 hospitals as well as the positivity rate.

"The occupancy rate at COVID-19 hospitals, or national BOR, increased in the last week, in line with the increase in cases, specifically around 19.88 percent (BOR)," government spokesperson for COVID-19 handling, Reisa Broto Asmoro, informed at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on October 27.

She said that on October 24, the country recorded only 1,703 new cases. However, the figure almost doubled to 3,008 the next day and rose further to 3,048 on October 26.

The XBB sub-variant of COVID-19 has a faster transmission rate compared to the BA.5 and BA.2 sub-variants. However, the symptoms of XBB are similar to other Omicron sub-variants. In fact, the fatality rate of the XBB variant is lower compared to that of other Omicron sub-variants.

"We are learning from the situation in our neighboring country to improve our alertness. We cannot let the number of cases spike again in Indonesia," Asmoro said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the XBB sub-variants symptoms comprise chills, cough, fatigue, muscle ache, headache, and sore throat.

The symptoms also include stuffy or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and shortness of breath.

At least 19 countries, including Australia, Malaysia, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom (UK), where most overseas travelers visiting Indonesia come from are currently experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Indonesia pushes full steam ahead on G20 Summit preparations by Fardah


 Jakarta, Sept 29, 2022 (ANTARA) - Indonesia will host the G20 Summit for the first time on the Bali Islands, one of the world’s most famous tourist resorts, on November 15 and 16, 2022, as part of its presidency of the grouping. 

The theme of Indonesia’s G20 Presidency, which it assumed on December 2021, is “Recover Together, Recover Stronger.”

The Group 20 (G20) is a strategic multilateral platform connecting the world’s major developed and emerging economies: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Spain is a permanent guest at the G20.

The members of the grouping account for more than 80 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), 75 percent of global trade, and 60 percent of the population of the planet.

The Indonesian government has been intensively preparing for the summit with the assumption that all G20 leaders such as Vladimir Putin of Russia, Joe Biden of the US, Anthony Albanese of Australia, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia will join the Bali Summit in person.  

The preparations have covered security matters, logistics, transportation, accommodation, infrastructure development, and other facilities, including the media center and emergency medical response for delegates, among others. 

So far, the preparations have been on the right track, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi.

"In the logistics and the substantial aspects, we are ready. I also believe that our preparation progress is on the right track," she told the press after reporting on the progress of preparations to President Joko Widodo at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on September 9, 2022.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

INDONESIA STRIVES TO EXPAND COVERAGE OF DIGITALIZATION OF MSMES by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 16/9/2022 (ANTARA) - Indonesia has over 65 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) capable of producing competitive products, though several of them had yet to integrate into the digital ecosystem to promote their products domestically and overseas.

They account for 99.9 percent of the business population and 61.07 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), or Rp8,573.9 trillion .

Eager to reduce imports, the Indonesian government has been striving to expand the coverage of digitalization of MSMEs, which is one of the strongest pillars of the Indonesian economy.

The government is targeting 30 million MSMEs to enter the digital market by 2024, including 19.5 million MSMEs in 2022, according to Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs Teten Masduki.

At least 19 million MSMEs have so far succeeded in going digital and expanding their market, while 11 million other MSMEs are lining up to adopt digitalization.

Aspiring to become the largest digital economy, with potential reaching Rp4,500 trillion in Southeast Asia by 2030, the government has accelerated economic digitalization transformation by involving various relevant stakeholders.

The digitalization effort also involves the digitization of MSMEs under various national initiatives, such as the Proudly Made in Indonesia National Movement and the Proud Indonesian Traveling National Movement.

Minister Masduki has urged internet marketers to MSMEs to enter the digital ecosystem, as many of the MSMEs are not familiar with digital technology.

To reduce imports and promote domestic products, internet marketers could seek what the people need, such as creating technology application to facilitate marketing, Masduki stated during the Indonesia Digital MeetUp 2022 recently.

"I call for help for our MSMEs to enter the online market because 50 percent of the products sold in e-commerce are still imported products," he noted.

Friday, August 5, 2022

INDONESIA INTENSIFIES VIGILANCE AGAINST MONKEYPOX by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 6/8/2022 (ANTARA) - Amid the global fight against COVID-19, which was first detected in China in late 2019, nearly 80 countries have lately found themselves battling another front - the outbreak of monkeypox.

On July 23, 2022, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

As of August 2, a total of 25,436 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in nearly 80 countries.

The United States, which currently has the most monkeypox cases in the world at more than 6,600, declared the outbreak a public health emergency on August 4.

The first monkeypox infection was detected in the United Kingdom in early May in an individual with a travel history to Nigeria, where the disease is endemic. Later, the virus spread to other European countries before moving to the United States, Canada, South America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

First identified in monkeys in 1958, the disease is characterized by mild symptoms such as fever, aches, and pus-filled skin lesions. People tend to recover from it within two to four weeks, according to the WHO.

The monkeypox virus spreads through close physical contact and is rarely fatal. The vast majority of patients in several countries, including the US, have so far been men who have sex with men.

In the Southeast Asian region, three countries have reported monkeypox cases as of July: Singapore, with eleven confirmed cases; Thailand, with two cases; and the Philippines, with one case.

Indonesia has so far reported no confirmed monkeypox cases, despite the detection of several suspected cases.

According to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, a total of nine suspected monkeypox were detected in Indonesia, but all of them tested negative for monkeypox and positive for smallpox.


Friday, July 29, 2022

INDONESIA ANNOUNCES 2ND BOOSTER AS OMICRON SUB-VARIANTS STOKE CONCERNS By Fardah

 

Jakarta, 30/7/2022 (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government announced the rollout of second booster vaccinations on Friday (July 29, 2022) for those who have completed six months since their first booster shot.

The second booster vaccination is meant to provide additional protection to individuals, particularly healthcare workers, amid the emergence of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants, which cause mild to no symptoms.

The Task Force for COVID-19 Handling has called for continued public vigilance amid increased transmission of COVID-19, with the number of new daily cases crossing six thousand.

"Last time, Indonesia saw a figure above six thousand was in March 2022," the task forces spokesperson, Wiku Adisasmito, said on July 29.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin earlier emphasized the importance of the booster vaccine to strengthen immunity against COVID-19.

People who have not received at least the first vaccine dose are 30 times more likely to be hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 compared to those who have received the booster dose, he highlighted.

"People who have only been vaccinated once are about 20 times more likely to be hospitalized. People who have only been vaccinated twice are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to those who have received the booster dose," he remarked.

The Ministry of Health has issued Circular Letter Number HK.02.02/C/3615/2022 regarding the second booster COVID-19 vaccination of healthcare workers as priority recipients because they are in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.

Vaccine brands that have obtained emergency-use authorization (EUA) from the National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) will be used for the second booster vaccinations, depending on their availability, according to the ministrys director-general of disease prevention and control, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu.

Monday, June 27, 2022

PRESIDENT JOKOWI SETS SIGHTS ON PEACE-BUILDING IN UKRAINE, RUSSIA by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 28/6/2022 (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is scheduled to embark on a peace-building mission to Ukraine and Russia on June 29 and 30, 2022, after attending the G7 Summit for Partner Countries in Germany.

The G7 Summit, held on June 26-27, discussed the global food supply chain disruption and the Russia-Ukraine war, among other things.

The President and his entourage left Germany for Poland on June 28, from where he will enter Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi informed.

He is expected to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on June 29 and call on Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on June 30.

Prior to his departure to Germany, Jokowi told Indonesian media that his mission in Ukraine and Russia will be to conduct dialogue on efforts to end the war and achieve peaceful solutions.

"War has to be stopped and global food supply chains need to be reactivated," he said.

At the G7 Summit, he cited data from the World Food Program (WFP) showing that at least 323 million people in a number of countries are at risk of a food crisis. The G7 and G20 have a big responsibility to overcome this crisis, he added.

He emphasized the importance of G7 countries support for the reintegration of Ukraines wheat exports and Russias food and fertilizer exports into global supply chains.

 

Sunday, June 26, 2022

NAVIGATING THE FOOD CRISIS, WAR by Fardah


 

Jakarta, 27/6/2022 (ANTARA) - Even as the world is trying to recover from the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a war has broken out in Ukraine and worsened the economic situation and food supply chain disruption in several parts of the globe.

Food security is on the agenda of the G7 Summit for Partner Countries at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps, Germany, which President Joko Widodo attended on June 2627, 2022.

Germany has invited Indonesia, Argentina, India, Senegal, and South Africa to the summit as partner countries.

The G7 is an informal forum of leading industrialized nations, comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The grouping was previously called G8 after Russia was accepted as its member in 1998, but it was kicked out in 2014 following a conflict with Ukraine.

Having taken over the G7 presidency from the UK in January 2022, Germany has set progress towards an equitable world as its goal and is focusing discussions on a sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation, healthy lives, and sustainable investments.

Germany wants to use its presidency to foster a sustainable planet, healthy living, investment in a better future, and building a world that is stronger together.

However, Europe is currently witnessing a war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022, and has been affected by the impacts of the war, which have included food chain disruption.

The sanctions imposed by the West on Russia have also triggered an energy crisis, with oil and gas supply dwindling in several European countries.

 

Friday, June 24, 2022

INDONESIA ACCELERATES BATTLE AGAINST FMD OUTBREAK IN 19 PROVINCES by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 25/6/2022 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is battling the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, mostly affecting cows in regions since May 2022, while concurrently, it is on alert for likely surge in COVID-19 cases triggered by emergence of new Omicron sub-variants.

FMD cases have been detected in 19 provinces, especially in East Java, West Nusa Tenggara, Aceh, West Java, and Central Java. Three provinces, with the highest number of districts and cities with FMD cases, are East Java, Central Java, and West Java.

As of June 23, at least 232,549 animals had contracted FMD. At least 152,618 of them have not yet recovered, while 1,333 have died. The most infected cattle are cows, with their number reaching 227,070 heads.

FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. FMD can spread through close contact between animals and be carried on animal products or by the wind. Quarantine and vaccination are among strategies to help control the FMD virus spread.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said that the government will provide Rp10 million as compensation to cattle breeders for every cow slaughtered due to the disease.

The government has approved the procurement of 29 million additional doses of the FMD vaccine for livestock using the budget of the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery (KPC-PEN), he added.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

NEED TO TREAD WITH CAUTION IN REVIVING HALAL TOURISM INDUSTRY by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 23/6/2022 (ANTARA) -With the COVID-19 situation getting relatively under control in many countries, a number of people have become eager to travel to escape from the boredom and stress caused by the pandemic over the past two years.

According to data provided by Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the number of international tourist arrivals in Indonesia in April 2022 reached 111,100, the highest on record since the pandemic hit the nation.

This figure is the highest since the start of the pandemic. This indicates that the tourism sector has started to recover, BPS head Margo Yuwono said recently.

The number of international tourists arriving in Indonesia in April 2022 increased drastically by 499.01 percent compared to April 2021.

Compared to the previous month, the number of international tourists arriving through the main entrance increased by 172.27 percent in April 2022.

Indonesia hosted the 2022 International Halal Congress in Bangka Belitung province, which is one of Indonesias halal tourism destinations, on June 14 and 15, 2022.

The congress, which was attended by participants and speakers from 40 countries, offered an opportunity for halal industry players to formulate policies related to halal tourism and products.

It yielded a nine-point resolution, among other things, calling for an acceleration of halal tourism and halal industry development as a significant pillar of national and global economic growth.

 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

STUNTING ERADICATION CRUCIAL TO ACHIEVE GOLDEN GENERATION by Fardah

Jakarta, 20/6/2022 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is striving to achieve a golden generation in 2045, or on the 100th anniversary of its independence, but faces the problem of stunting as a hurdle to be first overcome to achieve the goal.

Vice President Maruf Amin, during a launch of the book, titled "Moving Forward: Local Initiatives in Reducing Stunting in Indonesia," recently described a golden generation as a generation that is able to bring progress to Indonesia.

Stunting, which is characterized by growth failure in children under the age of two due to long periods of malnutrition, will create a demographic burden generation, as it has the potential to endanger the future of the nation, in terms of education, health, productivity, and the economy.

To ensure realizing the national goal of achieving a golden generation, the government, in 2018, had decided to accelerate the efforts to reduce the stunting rate, particularly among children under the age of five years.

To this end, the government has formulated the National Strategy for Accelerating Stunting Reduction (Stranas Stunting), which emphasizes the strengthening of investment in the first one thousand days of human life.

Amin, who has been tasked with leading the national stunting eradication efforts, claimed that the strategy has helped to reduce the stunting rate, from 30.8 percent in 2018 to 24.4 percent in 2021.

This achievement is based on hard work, smart work, and collaborative work from all parties, both at the central and regional government levels," he affirmed.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

INDONESIA BRACES FOR INFECTION SPIKE AS OMICRON SUBVARIANTS EMERGE by Fardah

 

Jakarta, 17/6/2022 (ANTARA) - Two Omicron subvariants, which surfaced in early June this year, have threatened the sense of normalcy that had returned to Indonesia in the last couple of months, when restrictions were relaxed as COVID-19 cases remained under control.

The country recorded 168 daily cases on May 2, 2022, and 218 cases on May 30, fueling hopes of a shift to endemicity. However, the number of daily cases shot up to 1,242 on June 15.

President Joko Widodo has urged officials to improve the accessibility of the COVID-19 booster vaccine to prevent a spike triggered by the new subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5.

So far, the government has administered the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to a total of 168,183,942 people, or 80.75 percent of the national target of 208,265,720 people.

On June 10, the Health Ministry informed that the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has been triggered by the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, which entered the country in early June 2022.

The BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants can evade immunity formed through vaccination and spread rapidly. The current increase has nothing to do with the easing of restrictions during the holidays and has been caused by the spread of new variants.

As of June 15, at least 20 cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants have been detected in Indonesia.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin assured that the situation in Indonesia is still under control based on the two World Health Organization (WHO) indicators.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

EID HOLIDAY BOOSTS SPENDING, CONSUMPTION INDICATING ECONOMIC RECOVERY by Fardah

 Jakarta, 23/5/2022 (ANTARA) - It was a beautiful day when Belibis Island in Solok City, West Sumatra Province, was thronged by some three thousand tourists enjoying holidays with their families a week after the 2022 Eid al-Fitr celebrations that fell on May 2.

Zul Hendro, 30, who offered a horse ride for Rp10,000 (US$0.70) per ride for one person on the island, expressed joy as he could bring home up to Rp800,000 ($54) on that day. He hardly had any customers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the closure of various tourist attractions.

The number of visitors to Belibis Island had continued to increase since the first day of Eid 2022 (May 2), Head of the Solok Tourism Object Management Fauzi stated on May 8, 2022.

Eid celebrations across Indonesia this year were much more livelier than those in the previous two years following the governments policy to relax COVID-19 restrictions, as the countrys COVID-19 situation was under control.

This year, the government allowed the reopening of tourist attractions and the people to travel to their hometowns for the Eid Islamic festivity in a tradition called mudik that triggered an exodus of millions of people leaving big cities for rural areas throughout Indonesia. However, the people were reminded to get vaccinated and always follow health protocols of wearing masks.

During the mudik period, the traffic flow increased by over 100 percent, and the hotel occupancy rate jumped by 70 percent to 80 percent on average during the holiday period in several regions.

In Bromo, Tretes, and Trawas, East Java, for instance, the hotel occupancy rate surged by some 100 percent on average, according to the Halal Tourism Association (PPHI).

Thursday, May 19, 2022

LONG-WAITED EID AL-FITR MUDIK RELATIVELY SAFE, SMOOTH THIS YEAR by Fardah


Jakarta, 20/5/2022 (ANTARA) - Millions of Indonesian Muslims were finally able to resume the tradition of returning to their hometowns or villages to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their families in May this year after two years of strict public movement restrictions due to COVID-19.

The government allowed Indonesians to observe mudik or the homecoming tradition following a significant improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesias population of 273 million are Muslims. This years Islamic festival of Eid al-Fitr fell on May 2, with the government granting a longer leave for those celebrating the holiday.

"At least 85.5 million people, 23 cars, and 17 million motorcycles join mudik this year. Thats a lot, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) wrote on his social media account in early May.

The simultaneous and large-scale exodus was far from easy to manage and necessitated extra coordination and hard work from several stakeholders, including the Transportation Ministry, the Police, the Health Ministry, and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), to ensure the safety of travelers.

President Widodo, who celebrated the festival in Yogyakarta, assured that the Eid homecoming flow in various regions was smooth.

"I see that everything is going well," he said after meeting Yogyakarta Governor Sultan Hamengkubuwono X at the Yogyakarta Palace on May 2.

To ensure a safe exodus, the National Police deployed 144,392 personnel comprising police officers, military officers, local government officers, and volunteers to monitor and coordinate traffic.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, on May 12 drew attention to the fact that traffic accidents during the exodus had reduced considerably compared to 2019.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

DEMANDING PROBE INTO SHIREEN ABU AKLEH'S MURDER BY ISRAELI FORCES Fardah


 Jakarta, 19/5/2022 (ANTARA) - The New York Times published Shireen Abu Akleh, Palestinian Journalist, dies, aged 51 article, May 11, on a Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli forces while covering an Israeli military raid in Jenin, West Bank, Palestine.

Other Western media outlets mostly also avoided mentioning Israeli forces that deliberately shot the Al Jazeera reporter in their titles in order to whitewash the Israeli crime against humanity for killing reported on duty.

The brutality of Israel occupying forces against Palestinians is notorious, including by targeting journalists. At least 45 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000 according to the Palestinian Ministry of Information as quoted by Aljazeera.

In May 2021, an Israeli air raid in the Gaza Strip demolished a tower that hosted several residential apartments and offices, including the bureaus of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.

The Indonesian Government, the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI), and the Indonesian Ulema (Islamic scholars) Council (MUI) strongly condemned the killing of Abu Akleh.

"Indonesia strongly denounces the murder of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh in the (Israel-) occupied West Bank," spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Teuku Faizasyah noted in a press briefing on May 12, 2022.

The Foreign Ministry pressed for an investigation into the shooting.

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).