In major policy shift, Jokowi orders transparency in pandemic fight

first_imgPreviously, on March 14,  Jokowi acknowledged that he was deliberately holding back some information on COVID-19 cases to prevent the public from panicking.“Indeed, we did not deliver certain information to the public because we did not want to stir panic. We have worked hard to overcome this, since the coronavirus outbreak can happen regardless of the country border,” he said at the time.The about-face came shortly after Jokowi declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national disaster on Monday, giving him a legal basis to grant the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) a greater degree of authority and flexibility to mitigate the disaster.The declaration was made after the President was informed that confirmed coronavirus cases had been detected in all provinces across the country. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has now called for greater transparency in how the nation is handling the coronavirus outbreak, ending his previous policy to withhold some information regarding the outbreak to prevent mass hysteria.    The President ordered that all information regarding the pandemic in the country be integrated in a single channel managed by the nation’s COVID-19 task force. The integrated data, he said, should include information regarding patients under treatment (PDP), people under surveillance (ODP) in every region, positive cases, fatalities and recovered patients, and should be updated on a daily basis. “[It should] cover all and be made transparent so that everyone can access the data,” Jokowi said during a Cabinet meeting on Monday.   Following the President’s order, Achmad Yurianto, the government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 affairs, revealed for the first time on Tuesday the number of suspected COVID-19 patients in the country. As of Tuesday afternoon, Indonesia had had 4,839 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 459 fatalities and 426 recoveries, he said, adding that the government had tested 31,628 people for the deadly virus and was monitoring 139,137 people with ODP status and 10,482 people with PDP status.Yurianto claimed that the COVID-19 task force had integrated all of the data related to the disease under one system. “After [the outbreak] was declared a national disaster, all of integrated data from villages, districts, cities, provinces, all the way to the central [government] are under one system,” he said on Tuesday. “So that all [data] could be seen and accessed openly and transparently.”On Wednesday, the Health Ministry’s website,, added a new feature revealing the number of people under surveillance (ODP) and patients under treatment (PDP) in the country.The website previously only revealed the number of specimens collected by the ministry, confirmed cases, negative results, death toll, recoveries and cases under treatment. Previously, only local administrations would announce the number of people under surveillance and patients under treatment in their respective regions.On the government’s official website,, the task force also now shows the data of both national and provincial cases, including confirmed cases, fatalities and recoveries, along with charts highlighting the national trends of additional cases, fatalities and recoveries.Critics have slammed the government for not being transparent in handling the outbreak from the get-go, saying that such a policy would only undermine efforts to contain the deadly disease.  Some scientists have complained about the difficulty of creating a reliable mathematical model to predict the peak of the outbreak due to the dearth of information regarding COVID-19 cases in the country. The BNPB, which heads the country’s COVID-19 task force, admitted on April 5 that there were discrepancies between COVID-19 case data in central and regional government. The governors of Jakarta and West Java, the two regions of the country hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak, have suggested that the numbers of people infected and killed by the disease in the country are significantly higher than the central government’s official count.They have said the Health Ministry has not been swift enough in testing potential COVID-19 patients.On Monday, the President also called on the Health Ministry and the COVID-19 task force to conduct more polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, saying that they should aim to conduct at least 10,000 tests a day.Experts have welcomed the policy shift, saying that transparency is key to gaining public trust during this pandemic. The government should disclose how many people were tested on a certain day and how many people were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 from the tests, considering there was a backlog of samples that were waiting to be tested by the labs, said University of Indonesia (UI) epidemiologist Pandu Riono.“[The data] should include not only ODP, PDP and fatalities, but also how many people are being treated in hospitals and of those people, how many have been tested,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

‘Outbreak won’t end in 14 days,’ says Anies as he gears up to extend PSBB in Jakarta

first_img“It is better to assume that this outbreak is going to last longer, so we can be better prepared,” said Anies. The governor also urged the House supervisory team to consult with epidemiologists on the projected duration of the outbreak.Anies said that many countries in the world were still fighting their own outbreaks, pointing to Wuhan – the city in Hubei, China, where the virus was first detected in December 2019 – where mitigation measures were still in place, even after months of a city-wide lockdown.Read also: COVID-19: Vacant roads, little activity mark first day of PSBB implementation in JakartaIn compliance with the Health Ministry’s PSBB guidelines, Jakarta has also restricted public transportation.  Jakarta is likely to extend the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), as 14 days is not long enough to bring COVID-19 transmission in the Indonesian capital under control, its governor has said.“The PSBB was to be in effect for 14 days, but in reality, this kind of outbreak is not going to be over in 14 days,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said by video link on Thursday, during a meeting with the COVID-19 mitigation supervisory team of the House of Representatives.Jakarta, the epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak, is the first region to impose the PSBB, which is in effect from April 10 to 23. The city’s implementing regulation on the PSBB conforms to the guidelines issued in a Health Ministry regulation, which requires regions to apply for the PSBB before they may install localized measures aimed to contain the spread of the viral respiratory disease. Jakarta’s mass transit system had already seen a slump in passenger numbers as a result of the governor’s stay-at-home and work/study from home polices, which had been implemented prior to the PSBB.City-owned BRT operator Transjakarta recorded a 91 percent fall in the number of daily passengers to 91,000 from 1 million, while MRT Jakarta recorded a 95 percent fall in daily passengers to 5,000 from 100,000.Anies said that he had also urged Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI), a subsidiary of national railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia, to cease operating its Commuter Line train service while the PSBB was in effect.Commuter Line operates a city-wide rail network that also connects Jakarta with the satellite cities of Bekasi, Depok and Bogor in West Java, and Tangerang in Banten. The rail service has already cut its passenger per car capacity to comply with Jakarta’s PSBB policy.The capital is also planning to expand its testing capacity from the present rate of 4,524 tests per day at 23 laboratories to 8,000 tests per day, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing method.Anies said that Jakarta’s testing capacity would soon be expanded with the help of Kalbe Farma, a publicly listed pharmaceutical company.“But the number [of tests] is still very small compared to what we need, that’s why we are focusing on PCR tests rather than rapid tests,” he said.Rapid tests, while faster and more affordable, have been deemed less accurate than the PCR swab tests.As of Thursday, Indonesia had recorded 5,516 confirmed cases and 496 deaths, with 548 recovered cases – the first time the number of recovered cases had overtaken the death toll. Meanwhile, Jakarta recorded 2,670 confirmed cases and 244 deaths, with 202 recovered cases.Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19: Indonesia to export PPE to South Korea as compensation for raw materials

first_img“We should not just have other countries send PPE [raw materials] to our homeland and not give some [finished products] back. Once again, cooperation is very important,” Doni said.Previously, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said that Indonesia, as one of the world’s largest PPE producers, had made an agreement with other countries, including South Korea and Japan, to contribute to their PPE supply.Read also: The time is right: COVID-19 gives more room for telemedicine to grow in IndonesiaShe said the government would ensure that PPE exports would not affect domestic supply since Indonesia’s trade partners had understood that the country was in need of PPE as well. Indonesia must export ready-to-use personal protective equipment (PPE) to South Korea as a form of compensation after the government bought raw materials from the country to meet domestic PPE production needs, COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo said on Monday.“Please understand that no country can meet its own needs,” the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head said after a meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo via video conference on Monday.Doni said the deal was a common one between countries needing to meet their logistics needs and that Indonesia should not risk a raw materials shortage by not cooperating with other countries. “Many countries desperately need PPE and require immediate supply to their country,” Sri Mulyani said. “But South Korea and Japan have agreed that we should meet domestic needs before helping other countries that lack PPE manufacturers.”National Mandate Party (PAN) lawmaker Saleh Daulay, criticized the government’s move amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, saying that it was alarming since the domestic need for PPE had yet to be fully met.“It certainly leaves a concern in the community because the need for PPE in the country has not yet been fulfilled,” Saleh told on Friday, adding that the government should prioritize all resources for national countermeasures.The government said it aimed to produce 16,000 pieces of PPE per day and claimed to have distributed as many as 700,000 pieces to all provinces in Indonesia as of April 9, with plans to distribute another 300,000.Topics :last_img read more

Australia joins US ships in South China Sea amid rising tension

first_imgAn Australian frigate has joined three US warships in the South China Sea near an area where a Chinese vessel is suspected to be exploring for oil, near waters also claimed by Vietnam and Malaysia, officials said on Wednesday.The warships arrived this week close to where the Chinese government survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 has been operating, which is in turn near where a vessel operated by Malaysia’s Petronas state oil company is conducting exploratory drilling, regional security sources have said.The US navy said on Tuesday the USS America amphibious assault ship and the USS Bunker Hill, a guided missile cruiser, were operating in the South China Sea. They were joined by Australia’s frigate HMAS Parramatta and a third US vessel, the destroyer USS Barry, as part of a joint exercise, the Australian defense department said.”During the passage exercises, the ships honed interoperability between Australian and US navies, including replenishment-at-sea, aviation operations, maritime maneuvers and communications drills,” it said in a statement to Reuters.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 was 325 km (202 miles) off the Malaysian coast, within its exclusive economic zone, data from ship-tracking website Marine Traffic showed on Wednesday.The ship, accompanied by a Chinese coastguard vessel, has been moving in a hash-shaped pattern consistent with a seismic survey for nearly a week, the data showed. The area is near waters claimed by both Vietnam and Malaysia as well as China.China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, within a U-shaped “nine-dash line” on its maps, which is not recognized by its neighbors.Petronas and Malaysia’s foreign ministry have not commented on the situation but the United States has called on China to stop its “bullying behavior” in the South China Sea.China, however, has denied reports of a standoff, saying the Haiyang Dizhi 8 was conducting normal activities.Last year, Vietnamese vessels spent months shadowing the Haiyang Dizhi 8.It appeared off Vietnam again last week, within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. Vietnam said it was closely monitoring the situation.The United States has accused China of pushing its presence in the South China Sea while other claimants are pre-occupied with the coronavirus.At the same time, China has been donating medical aid to Southeast Asian countries to help them tackle the virus, which emerged in central China late last year.A team of Chinese medical experts arrived this week in Malaysia, which has reported more than 5,400 coronavirus infections.On Sunday, Vietnam protested after China said it had established two administrative districts on the Paracel and Spratly islands in the disputed waters. China has called Vietnam’s claims illegal. center_img Topics :last_img read more

Atambua Diocese confirms troubled priest moved to vocational school for ‘self-management’ sessions

first_img“The priest, who is undergoing a pastoral suspension, is temporarily assigned to the SMK Bitauni Catholic vocational school for self-management sessions, while waiting for the opportunity to attend a spiritual refreshment course that will determine our next decision regarding him,” Paulus and Mateus said as quoted in the statement.Read also: NTT author vows to keep fighting sexual abuse amid vandalism caseFelix previously condemned the decision to transfer the priest to the vocational school as it had a number of female students. The vocational school is located only 700 meters from the clergy house.The writer raised his concerns with the school’s principal, who reportedly told him that the accused priest would be transferred again shortly as his short tenure at the school was only for “refreshment”. However, after nothing had changed months later, Felix damaged the school’s property in anger over the diocese’s inaction. The police detained him for vandalism.Representatives of the Atambua Diocese confirmed that Felix had been apprehended on July 3 to make a statement to the police and was discharged a day later.The representatives expressed dismay over “subjective reports, comments and analysis” of the case, arguing they had failed to comprehend the full background and information regarding the matter.”The legal process against Felix as well as his concerns can be solved amicably, in line with the principle of openness, so that the truth can be revealed in order to achieve justice and peace,” the diocese representatives said.Topics : The Atambua Diocese in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) has responded to concerns raised by author Felix K. Nesi, confirming that a Catholic priest under its pastoral care who “caused trouble for a woman” had been moved to a vocational school to undergo “self-management” sessions.  Literary award winner Felix was detained in NTT on July 3 after allegedly vandalizing a Catholic parish clergy house in a fit of rage upon learning that the parish had retained a priest whom he accused of “mistreating a woman”. The diocese justice and peace commission head, Paulus Nahak I., and judicial vicar Mateus da Cruz said in a statement on Wednesday that the diocese had handled the matter concerning the priest in October last year in accordance with the 1983 Code of Canon Law as well as local customary law. The priest, who was identified as “Romo A” by Felix, was suspended from pastoral service.  last_img read more

Ronaldo powers Juve to ninth straight Serie A title

first_imgRonaldo ‘delight’ Despite his 35 years Ronaldo shrugged off the quick succession of matches played in hot summer weather after the lockdown, bringing his tally to 31 this season.The Portuguese striker has scored 10 goals since football returned in Italy on June 20, more than any other player in Europe.He also matched former Italy World Cup winner Felice Borel, who was the last player to score 31 goals for Juventus in the 1933-34 season.But he remains three goals behind Serie A’s leading scorer Ciro Immobile, who scored a hat-trick earlier in Lazio’s 5-1 win over Hellas Verona.”Delighted for the second consecutive championship and to continue building the history of this great and splendid club,” said Ronaldo on Instagram.”This title is dedicated to all Juventus fans, in particular to those who have suffered and are suffering from the pandemic that has taken us all by surprise by overturning the world. “It was not easy! Your courage, your attitude and your determination were the strength we needed to face this tight final of the championship and fight to the end for this title that belongs to all of Italy. “A big hug to you all!”The breakthrough came in the final move of the first half, when Pjanic cleverly rolled a pass across the penalty area to allow Ronaldo to lash home his 31st league goal of the season.Juventus made sure of the title in second half when Bernardeschi pounced on the rebound of a Ronaldo shot and tapped in a decisive finish.Sampdoria had no way back into the game and had to play the final 20 minutes a man down when Morten Thorsby was sent off for a second yellow card.But the match could prove costly for Juventus before the return leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Lyon on August 7, when they need to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first match in France.Danilo took a knock, while influential forward Paulo Dybala limping off with a muscular problem early in the match will be a worry for Sarri with Lyon’s visit to Turin less than two weeks away. Cristiano Ronaldo powered Juventus to their ninth straight Serie A title on Sunday in a 2-0 win over Sampdoria that put them over the line with two matches to spare.Ronaldo opened the scoring deep into first half stoppage time in Turin and then had a hand in Federico Bernardeschi netting the second after 66 minutes.The five-time Ballon d’Or winner missed a late penalty but Maurizio Sarri’s side moved seven points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan to seal a 36th ‘Scudetto’. Topics : The title is Sarri’s first and extends a record run which Antonio Conte started with three titles from 2012 and Massimiliano Allegri continued with the following five.Sarri’s team had missed the chance to wrap up the title on Thursday when the ‘Old Lady’ of Italian football fell to a 2-1 defeat at Udinese.But they made no mistake at the Allianz Stadium despite being pushed hard by Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria, one of the most in-form teams since the return of Serie A from the three-month coronavirus lockdown.”It is the most beautiful success, even the most difficult because we wanted it and suffered,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci. “We started on a new path with a lot of skepticism around us, we gave everything, despite some slip-ups. “It was a complicated year for everyone in the world, it was difficult to return after so many months not playing.”last_img read more

Virology institute launches Russia’s second COVID-19 vaccine human trial

first_imgTopics : A Russian state virology institute has started human trials of the country’s second potential COVID-19 vaccine, injecting the first of five volunteers with a dose on July 27, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.The individual was feeling fine, the agency reported.The next volunteer in the trial by the Vector virology institute in Siberia would receive an injection on July 30, RIA cited consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying. A government register of all clinical trials shows that the institute, which is overseen by Rospotrebnadzor, is testing a peptide vaccine using a platform first developed for Ebola.The trial is then expected to scale up to 100 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 60, the clinical trials register shows. Vector is working on six different potential COVID-19 vaccines, World Health Organization (WHO) records show.A separate state research facility in Moscow, the Gamaleya Institute, completed early human trials of an adenovirus-based vaccine earlier this month and expects to enter large-scale trials in August.More than 100 possible vaccines are being developed around the world to try to stop the coronavirus pandemic. At least four are in final Phase III human trials, according to WHO data – including three developed in China and another in Britain. last_img read more

China launches anti-dumping probe into Australian wine imports

first_imgShares of Treasury, the world’s biggest standalone winemaker, fell up to 20% as the industry and investors worried about the prospect of a possible import tax on Australian wine.The company said in a statement it would cooperate with any requests for information from the authorities and remained committed to China as a “priority market”.The probe comes against a backdrop of increasing tensions between the countries after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus.China is the top market for Australian wine exports and is also Australia’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth A$235 billion ($170 billion) last year. Beijing recently imposed dumping tariffs on Australian barley, suspended some beef imports and warned Chinese students and tourists it wasn’t safe to travel to Australia because of allegations of racism.Australia’s Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham called the investigation “very disappointing and perplexing” and said China was also considering a request to investigate countervailing duties, an import tax imposed to prevent dumping or counter export subsidies.He told reporters he had not spoken with his Chinese counterpart, or other senior Chinese government officials, since May when he requested discussions in light of the barley tariff.Price concernsThe China Alcoholic Drinks Association said Australian wine producers had cut their prices and were taking market share from local companies, which had seen a rapid deterioration in production and operating conditions.China’s imports of Australian wine more than doubled to 12.08 million liters between 2015 and 2019, the association said. The price of imports fell 13% to $6,723 a kiloliter, it added, citing Chinese customs data.Over the same period, the market share of domestic wine fell from 74.4% to 49.6%, it said.Australian industry figures show the country sells more wine to China than France, exporting A$1.1 billion ($795 million) of product in 2019/20 for a 37% market share of China’s imports by dollar value.”The export data doesn’t support any facts that we’re dumping wine,” said David Harris, managing director of South Australian Wine Group, which was named in the investigation.”Our wine’s more expensive than virtually any wine-exporting country in the world,” he added.Tony Battaglene, chief executive of industry body Australian Grape & Wine Inc, said China’s move was unexpected and could lead to a tariff being applied to all of the roughly 1,200 Australian winemakers which export product to China.”As in the barley case they can apply a tariff across the board,” he said. “It can apply at a company level and at a national level. It would be detrimental, there’s no doubt about it.”Australian wine exporters including Treasury faced blocks and delays in 2018 when Chinese customs officials held up shipments. Relations were strained at the time after the Australian government accused Beijing of meddling in domestic affairs.Fund manager Macquarie Equities said it was reviewing its investment rating of Treasury Wine due to “increased geopolitical risks”, and warned of the possibility of additional tariffs. China said on Tuesday it has begun an anti-dumping probe into imports of Australian wine in a move that will likely worsen tensions between the two countries and knocked a fifth off the market value of Australia’s biggest winemaker.The investigation by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will look at imports of wine from Australia in containers holding two liters or less in 2019, the ministry said in a statement. It would also examine any damage to the Chinese wine industry from 2015-19.The probe was requested by the Chinese Alcoholic Drinks Association, which asked the regulator to look into 10 Australian wine producers, including Treasury Wine Estates , the maker of Penfolds, and Accolade wines.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Australia not worried about vaccine trial pause, cases rise in hot spot

first_imgTopics : Australia on Monday said it would get the first doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in January 2021 if trials proved successful after reaching a preliminary deal in August.It had also signed an agreement on a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Queensland. Both these vaccines will be manufactured locally by CSL Ltd.Australia’s coronavirus hot spot of Victoria on Wednesday, meanwhile, reported its biggest rise in daily cases in three days as the state boosted its contact tracing program to ease the spread of the virus.Victoria, which is at the center of Australia’s second wave of coronavirus outbreak, now accounts for about 75% of Australia’s 26,450 COVID-19 cases and 90% of its 781 deaths.The state reported 76 new cases and 11 deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours.  “With the information that I have got at the moment, I am not worried about it,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth told Sky News, adding the hold on trials does not mean the vaccine “is off the table”.”In some respects, this is a very positive thing because it shows that despite the accelerated vaccine development, safety is the priority of the clinical trialists and investigators.”Coatsworth said Australia like many other governments has invested in several coronavirus vaccine candidates, “knowing not all of them will get through”.AstraZeneca’s decision to place the trial on hold comes after a pledge from nine leading US and European vaccine developers on Tuesday to uphold scientific safety and efficacy standards for their vaccines despite the urgency to contain the pandemic.center_img Australia is not worried about AstraZeneca Plc’s decision to put on hold its COVID-19 vaccine trial, its deputy chief medical officer said on Wednesday, as daily cases nudged higher in the country’s coronavirus hot spot.AstraZeneca on Tuesday said it has paused a late-stage trial of one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates after an unexplained illness in a study participant.The nature of the case and when it happened were not detailed, although the participant is expected to recover, according to Stat News, which first reported the news.last_img read more

KPK requests additional Rp 825b to hire ‘graft-prevention agents’

first_imgThe Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has made a request to the House of Representatives for an additional Rp 825 billion (US$55.48 million) for its 2021 budget to hire more graft-prevention agents, the agency’s chief, Firli Bahuri, said on Monday.”[I requested] an additional Rp 825 billion for the 2021 budget and we will use it to increase the number of anticorruption counselors and integrity experts,” Firli said during a hearing with House Commission III overseeing legal affairs at the House complex in Central Jakarta on Monday. Firli said the additional funds requested were meager figure compared to the Rp 90.5 trillion state funds the agency had saved through graft preventionThe KPK initially requested Rp 1.881 trillion for its 2021 budget. However, the government agreed to allocate only Rp 1.055 trillion.”I think asking for Rp 1.8 trillion is fair considering our accomplishments. We have secured more money than we were asked for,” Firli said.House Commission III approved the request for additional funds in the meeting and will pass the proposal on to the House budget committee (Banggar).United Development Party (PPP) lawmaker Arsul Sani expressed hope the additional funds could boost the KPK’s prevention efforts, adding that some regional leaders and bureaucrats wanted the KPK’s assistance in executing major programs, such as the village funds program.Arsul added that the KPK should also utilize the funds to make significant progress in major unsolved cases.Topics : Anticorruption counselors and integrity experts are part of the KPK’s program to promote anticorruption education and awareness under Firli’s leadership following its recent focus on prevention over enforcement.He argued the KPK needed more people in those positions to assist ministries and government agencies, as well as provincial, district and city administrations. The agency currently has 827 counselors and 28 experts.“Corruption is caused by a lack of integrity. We are continuing to increase the number of integrity experts assigned to all ministries and institutions,” he said.Read also: Which KPK leader has caught more suspects in their early days?last_img read more