Central Java to build new mask factory, increase alcohol production to curb COVID-19

first_imgGanjar said Central Java only had one company that produced alcohol but the company was willing to increase production.”It will produce up to 3 million liters. We need hand sanitizer but there is a limited supply.”Ganjar also acknowledged that the province still lacked personal protective equipment.“When I had an online meeting with regents and mayors in Central Java on Tuesday, they said all hospitals lacked personal protective equipment such as safety shoes, respirators and protective clothing,” he said.”We will ask more companies to produce more personal protective equipment.”As of Thursday morning, Indonesia has reported 227 confirmed COVID-19 cases.(aly)Topics : A new mask factory will be built in Brebes, Central Java, while alcohol production in Wonogiri will be increased to produce more hand sanitizer to curb the spread of COVID-19, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo has announced.”We should follow the South Korean government’s example [and increase mask production]. This is our chance to be an independent nation,” he said. Besides masks, another essential product needed in handling COVID-19 is alcohol, as it is a major component of hand sanitizer.last_img read more

IMF sees pandemic causing global recession in 2020, recovery in 2021

first_imgThe coronavirus pandemic will cause a global recession in 2020 that could be worse than the one triggered by the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, but world economic output should recover in 2021, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva welcomed extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries to boost health systems and protect affected companies and workers, and steps taken by central banks to ease monetary policy. “Even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front,” she said.Georgieva issued the new outlook after a conference call of finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 of the world’s largest economies, who she said agreed on the need for solidarity across the globe. Topics : “The human costs of the coronavirus pandemic are already immeasurable and all countries need to work together to protect people and limit the economic damage,” Georgieva said.More countries are imposing lockdown measures to contain the rapidly spreading virus, which has infected 337,500 people across the world and killed over 14,600.Georgieva said the outlook for global growth was negative and the IMF now expected “a recession at least as bad as during the global financial crisis or worse.”Earlier this month, Georgieva had warned that 2020 world growth would be below the 2.9% rate seen in 2019, but stopped short of predicting a recession. Trade wars pushed global growth last year to the lowest rate since a 0.7% contraction in 2009.center_img On Monday Georgieva said a recovery was expected in 2021, but to reach it countries would need to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems.”The economic impact is and will be severe, but the faster the virus stops, the quicker and stronger the recovery will be,” she said.Georgieva said the IMF would massively step up emergency finance, noting that 80 countries have already requested help and that the IMF stood ready to deploy all of its $1 trillion in lending capacity.Advanced economies were generally in better shape to deal with the crisis, but many emerging markets and low-income countries face significant challenges, including outward capital flows.Investors have already removed $83 billion from emerging markets since the start of the crisis, the largest capital outflow ever recorded, Georgieva said.The IMF is particularly concerned about low-income countries in debt distress and was working closely with them to address those concerns, she added.The IMF called again on members to contribute funds to replenish its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to help the poorest countries.Georgieva said the IMF was exploring other options with its members. Several low- and middle-income countries have asked for an allocation for the Special Drawing Right, an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves, as was done during the global financial crisis, she said.IMF members also needed to provide additional swap lines with emerging market countries to address a global liquidity crunch, she said.The IMF was also exploring a proposal that would help facilitate a broader network of swap lines, including through an IMF-swap-type facility. last_img read more

COVID-19: Jokowi calls for at least 10,000 PCR tests a day

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has repeated his call for 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.”I want PCR tests to be further increased and for the backlog of [unprocessed] samples to be reduced, especially in the epicenter regions,” Jokowi said at the opening of a limited meeting on Monday.He said that he had received reports that the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry had imported 18 PCR testing machines that could each process 500 tests a day and that there were now 29 laboratories nationwide that could process PCR tests.  “Up until today we have reached a total of 26,500 tests. This is a good jump but I want for us to conduct at least 10,000 tests per day,” he said.Indonesia’s testing rate is among the lowest in the world, with only 99 tests per million people. In comparison, neighboring Malaysia has conducted over 2,000 tests per million people, while Singapore and South Korea have conducted over 10,000 per million people. Indonesia would have to conduct around 2.7 million tests to reach similar levels.According to the Health Ministry’s official count, there were 4,557 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide as of Monday, with 399 deaths. (kmt)Topics :last_img read more

I prefer it in cash: Passengers, travel agents upset over airline refund policy

first_imgAir passengers and travel agents are not happy about airlines’ refund policies as the COVID-19 pandemic hits air travel demand. A recently issued government policy that bans all passenger travel further exacerbates the situation.Chandra Hidayatul Akbar, 24, who lives in Medan, North Sumatra, has to accept the fact that low-cost carrier AirAsia Indonesia will only give him airline credit after his flight on May 16 from Medan to Yogyakarta was canceled by the airline. The credit, which is equivalent to his ticket price, can be used for future travel with the airline.“Honestly, I prefer a cash refund because credit like this is not flexible,” he said on Tuesday, adding that the credit was valid up to 365 days after being issued.  He also found the refund process to be complicated. Read also: 95 aircraft parked at Indonesian airports as virus puts airlines’ operations on halt“I failed several times when filing a report via AirAsia’s chatbot and once I succeeded, I needed to wait one week before my request was accepted. Now they’ve told me to wait another month for the credit points to be transferred,” he said, adding that he had yet to receive the points. National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia Indonesia and low-cost carrier Lion Air have all offered vouchers or credit rather than cash for canceled flights.  The Transportation Ministry’s civil aviation director general, Novie Riyanto, said on Thursday that airlines were allowed to provide refunds in the form of a voucher.”Airlines have no obligation to make the refund in cash, it can be a voucher as long as its value is the same as the price of the issued ticket,” said Novie.The government restricted on Thursday all passenger travel starting on Friday as it worked to prevent people from participating in the annual Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) to curb the spread of the pneumonia-like illness. All air travel to domestic and overseas destinations – both commercial and chartered flights – will be suspended until May 31.Jakarta resident Dimas Maulana, 33, was also offered a travel voucher instead of cash when requesting a refund for a ticket valued at more than Rp 5 million (US$321.81),  for a flight from Jakarta to Semarang. After filling a refund request at the beginning of April due to the health crisis, Dimas was made aware that the entire process could take up to 90 days. Read also: Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia cuts employee salaries by up to 50%“I understand that the impact COVID-19 has had on airlines is huge, so although I am upset that my ticket can only be replaced by voucher, I’m trying to be OK with that. But, I really hope Garuda’s response can be swift,” he said on Tuesday. Lion Air Group stated on Wednesday that vouchers were one option in its refund policy and that the voucher could be exchanged for cash but only under certain conditions. Indonesia Travel Agent Association (Astindo) secretary-general Pauline Suharno said separately that customers only wanted their money back in cash, while at the same time agents were not able to access cash refunds from the airlines. The situation adversely affected travel agents’ cash flows, she added.The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the aviation hard as the number of flights dropped significantly following the implementation of physical distancing measures.  The Indonesia National Air Carrier Association (INACA) said there had been a drastic decline in the number of air passengers since early March, forcing all airlines to cut flight frequency and routes by 50 percent or more. Finance Ministry data on April 17 estimated that national airlines’ revenue loss had reached Rp 207 billion as a result of the pandemic.INACA secretary-general Bayu Sutanto said disrupted cash flows was among reasons why many airlines had provided vouchers as refunds. Read also: Airline employees worried about job security as COVID-19 takes its toll“INACA reminds our airline members to communicate with their passengers to explain this situation regardless of the refund they give,” he said on Wednesday. International Air Transport Association (IATA) CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement on April 3 that passengers had the right to get their money as they had spent money on a service that could not be delivered. However, during this difficult time, airlines were facing an imminent depletion of cash. Providing vouchers as a refund that could be used for future travel would give the industry “vital time to breathe” and eventually survive the crisis, he said.“Without this flexibility, airlines will collapse and jobs will disappear. Accepting a voucher or delayed refund today will mean that the airlines will be around for when we have our freedom to travel restored,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

South Korea church hit by COVID-19 says members to give plasma for research

first_imgAround 4,000 recovered COVID-19 patients from a religious group at the center of South Korea’s largest outbreak will donate plasma for research, an official said on Tuesday, a day after local officials filed a lawsuit against the church.In February and March, a massive outbreak among members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus made South Korea the scene of the first large outbreak outside of China.At least 5,213 of the country’s total 12,484 cases have been linked to the church outbreak, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). Shincheonji says it fully complied with government efforts.The National Institute of Health said 185 people have so far come forward to donate plasma as of Monday and said they were in talks with Shincheonji for donations.South Korea health officials have said that in the absence of other treatments or vaccines, plasma therapy may be a way to lower the death rate, especially in critical patients.At least 17 South Koreans have received the experimental therapy, which involves using plasma from recovered patients with antibodies to the virus, enabling the body to defend against the disease.South Korea has reported 281 deaths from COVID-19.Health authorities said they were testing 176 people who came into contact with crew members on a Russian fishing vessel docked at Busan after 16 aboard the vessel were tested positive.  Church founder Lee Man-hee had internally advised recovered members to donate their plasma, which is badly needed for coronavirus research, Shincheonji media coordinator Kim Young-eun told Reuters on Tuesday.Many of recovered church members wanted to donate to express thanks to the government and medical staff, she said.The city of Daegu – where most of the church infections were centered – filed a civil lawsuit against the church on Monday, seeking 100 billion won ($82.75 million) in damages.Daegu authorities had previously filed a complaint against the church accusing it of not submitting a full list of members and facilities, and not cooperating with city health efforts.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Spurs have too much time between games, says Mourinho

first_imgTottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho says he is unhappy with the long break between matches his team have had since the Premier League resumed following the COVID-19 shutdown.Spurs play Sheffield United later on Thursday, nine days after their last match, a 2-0 victory over West Ham United on June 23.”I am not happy to be waiting for this match for so long,” the Portuguese said in a pre-match news conference. “The perfect time in between matches I would always say is three days, especially in this moment when you are chasing your best form, your best intensity.”Mourinho also said record signing Tanguy Ndombele could turn things around. Ndombele was hauled off at halftime and singled out for criticism in Spurs’ last match before the league was suspended in mid-March and has not played since.”I believe Ndombele can turn it around,” Mourinho said.”Football is full of players who have made difficult starts and then ended well. When the talent is there many things can happen with adaptation.”In many other clubs it looks like it’s normal to have great players on the bench: Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich.”At Tottenham I feel is every time a top player is on the bench, it’s a drama. The players and everybody else have to understand it’s not a drama.”Spurs are eighth in the league on 45 points with seven games left to play.Topics :last_img read more

LeBron James opts out of wearing social justice message on jersey

first_imgNBA superstar LeBron James said Saturday he would opt out of wearing a social justice message on the back of his jersey because it doesn’t “resonate with his mission.”James, who has often spoken out against racism and police brutality in America, is passing on the NBA’s plan to help bring attention to racial inequality by having players wear messages like “I Can’t Breathe” instead of their family names.”I didn’t go with a name on the back of my jersey,” the Los Angeles Lakers forward James said Saturday. “It was no disrespect to the list that was handed down to all the players.” “I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It is just something that didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.”James says he wishes he had had some input into the jersey change.”I would have loved to have a say on what would have went on the back of the jersey. I had a couple of things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process which is OK.””I don’t need to have something on the back of the jersey for people to understand my mission and what I’m about and what I am here to do.” The vast majority of NBA players have decided to pick a social justice message when play resumes in Orlando, Florida.James is one of just about 17 players out of 285 so far who have opted to continue using their family names on the back of their uniforms.The list of suggested messages, agreed on by the players union and NBA owners and then made available to players, includes “I Can’t Breathe,” which is what George Floyd said more than 20 times before he died with a white police officer kneeling on his neck.Other messages include: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.James said even though he isn’t taking part in the jersey messages, he is still working behind the scenes to improve the lives of others, especially people in the Black community.”Being able to use my platform, use the NBA’s platform, to continue to talk about what’s going on. Because I will not stop until I see real change for us in Black America, for African Americans, for people of color. And I also believe I can do both, though.”James said he always expected to play in the restart to the season: “I am here for one goal and one goal only and that is to win a championship.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

Testing gap across provinces slows down COVID-19 response in Indonesia

first_imgWith the COVID-19 pandemic requiring an unprecedented scale of laboratory testing, Indonesia continues to face disparities in testing between regions in the vast archipelago.The country is now operating 269 laboratories to run polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for diagnoses, from only 12 labs allowed by the Health Ministry in mid-March, when the country reported its first confirmed cases.Half of these labs are located in Java, Indonesia’s most populous island that is home to some 141 million of the country’s 270 million population. Java is at the advantage of being the home base for many ministry-run laboratories, state universities and private hospitals and labs. In Jakarta, most of the labs are run by ministries or private entities.All 34 provinces now have their own PCR machines, but provinces like Riau, home to some 7 million people, North Maluku, North Kalimantan and Southeast Sulawesi only operate one lab each, while Jambi, Bengkulu, Central Kalimantan, Gorontalo and Maluku have two labs each.Read also: COVID-19 leaves lab workers grappling with unprecedented testing scaleThe head of Andalas University’s infectious disease diagnostic and research laboratory, Andani Eka Putra, acknowledged there was a lab disparity even prior to the outbreak, but what he regretted most was the “centralism” seen from the government at the beginning of the epidemic. Topics : The 12 labs allowed to run the tests in mid-March were mostly Health Ministry labs. The number grew gradually before the ministry eventually allowed a wider network of labs, including private ones, to conduct testing after President Joko “Jokowi” ordered the upscaling of tests in April.He has since ordered the further upscaling of tests to 30,000 samples per day, but in the past week, the number of new samples tested hovered at around 20,000 a day and the number of new people tested at 14,000 per day.Indonesia has tested a total of 1.2 million swab samples from 737,844 people, but experts say testing remains concentrated in several areas, with Jakarta accounting for 30 percent of the total samples tested.Health Ministry data dated July 19 and obtained by The Jakarta Post showed that Jakarta, with 44 labs, had run 377,235 tests, or 35,438 tests per 1 million population.Hardest-hit province East Java, home to roughly 40 million people, has run 107,074 tests, or 2,685 tests per 1 million people.Indonesia’s most populous province West Java, with a population of almost 50 million, has run 111,716 tests, or 2,237 per 1 million population.A Flourish mapcenter_img “I remember the South Korean government gathering everyone with lab competency — be it from the health sector, universities or research agencies — in the early days of the pandemic, asking everyone to work together as one,” he said.“Here, we went the other way: it was all centralized. As a result, we were paralyzed. Now all suitable labs are allowed to participate in testing, [but] quality control is not clear.” Central Java, which has seen an average of 250 daily new cases in the past week and is home to 35 million people, has run 80,737 tests or 2,311 per 1 million people.The most populous province outside Java, North Sumatra, which has a population of 15 million, has run 23,669 tests or 1,610 tests per 1 million people.Some provinces recording confirmed cases below 300, such as Aceh, West Sulawesi, Jambi, Lampung and Central Sulawesi, have each run less than 1,000 tests per 1 million population. Jambi has the lowest rate with 142 tests per 1 million population, West Sulawesi with 413 tests, Lampung 448 and Central Sulawesi 906.Read also: Govt launches mobile laboratory to increase COVID-19 testing capacityThe World Health Organization has recommended a minimum case detection benchmark of 1 test per 1,000 population per week to be able to define a region’s positivity rate.It suggests a positivity rate of 5 percent and lower for two weeks as part of the criteria in assessing coronavirus transmissions. The Health Ministry’s revised guidelines on COVID-19 response have also adopted this criterion.But the WHO’s latest situation report on Indonesia revealed that in Java, only Jakarta had so far met this benchmark.Nasser, an expert staffer on Indonesia’s COVID-19 task force, said five other Java provinces had yet to meet the benchmark given their large populations. The problems, he said, did not only stop at the number of labs.”There is a problem with human resources, also with the [slow] reporting of results and reagents. There are labs using reagents that turn out to be unsuitable, so they have to change the reagents or the kits,” he said. “Everything is so sudden and new, so there wasn’t really any time to prepare the labs well.”In densely populated areas like in Java and Sumatra, Nasser said the aim was to have a lab within every 100 or 200 kilometers — in other words, in every city and regency. On other islands with a smaller population and lower population density, a small number of labs would suffice as long as authorities ensured the smooth transportation of test samples, he said.Andani of Andalas University said meeting the minimum testing benchmark and positivity rate was important for all regions, including those with few labs, to prevent regions from tampering with testing numbers to maintain or earn a low-risk status.He said regions with a small number of labs could meet the benchmark by hiring more lab workers to allow them to run tests at their full capacity, 24 hours a week. A lab needs to employ at least 60 workers to test 4,000 samples per day, he added.”Labs can run at their fullest capacity as long as they want to be open to recruiting graduate and post-graduate students with experience in molecular [biology], even if they are not working in the health sector.”But local administrations should also provide incentives and living accommodation to protect workers being exposed to the virus and avoid the risk of them contaminating the labs, he said, adding that they must also intensify contact tracing.last_img read more

Former Waskita Karya officials arrested for alleged embezzlement

first_imgRead also: KPK nabs 11 former North Sumatra councillors for alleged bribery involving ex-governorHe alleged that Desi had approved several fictitious projects for the firm’s subcontractors in 2009 and that she had later organized an internal meeting to determine the funds allocated to the subcontractors for those projects.The five suspects signed contracts to allow the firm to disburse the funds but allegedly kept the money for themselves.Firli added that graft busters had identified 41 fictitious contracts in 14 projects under the division, involving smaller construction companies such as PT Safa Sejahtera Abadi, CV Dwiyasa Tri Mandiri, PT MER Engineering and PT Aryana Sejahtera.The five suspects allegedly used the money to pay for several expenses outside of the company’s budget, including purchases of foreign currency and personal spending.“We hope all parties working on projects funded by the state budget adhere to the strict principles of good corporate governance,” said Firli, reaffirming the antigraft body’s commitment to preventing and prosecuting corruption.Topics : The antigraft body named both former employees suspects in December 2018.Investigators named three additional suspects on July 13: Desi Arryani, a Waskita Karya civil engineering division head and two of her subordinates, Jarot Subana and Fakih Usman.KPK chairman Firli Bahuri said the antigraft body would detain the five suspects in separate detention centers for 20 days.“We suspect them of corruption, committed through fictitious projects under Waskita Karya’s second division between 2009 and 2015. The illicit practices caused about Rp 202 billion [US$13.89 million] in state losses,” Firli said during a press briefing on Thursday. Moch. Fiqih Prawira AdjieJakartaThe Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has detained five former employees of state-owned construction firm Waskita Karya in connected with appropriations for several fictitious projects between 2009 and 2015.Fathor Rachman, who oversaw the construction of bridges, docks and other civil projects for the company between 2011 and 2013, and Yuly Ariandi Siregar, the financial and risk department head for Fathor’s division between 2010 and 2014 were among those arrested.last_img read more

First-half contraction in palm oil output, exports due to ‘domino effect’: GAPKI

first_img“The main [cause of] the decline in production isn’t really COVID-19, but rather the domino effect of the palm oil price crash, which pushed down palm oil cultivation and fertilizer sales,” he said.Along with the decline in palm oil production the first half of 2020, exports fell 11.4 percent yoy to 15.5 million tons from 17.5 million tons, according to GAPKI data.“Global demand for palm oil products has declined significantly, which has affected our export performance. [This is] because countries are in lockdown, and we don’t know how long [the situation] will last,” Joko said.According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), half-year palm oil exports fell 5.49 percent yoy to US$76.41 billion. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has forecast that global trade in 2020 will contract by 13 percent at best and 32 percent at worst amid the worldwide disruption caused by the pandemic.According to GAPKI data, palm oil exports to all major destinations had declined except for exports to India, the United States and Pakistan, which grew  23 percent, 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively.Meanwhile, domestic consumption of the commodity in the first half of 2020 posted a slight yoy increase of 2.8 percent to 8.6 million tons, mainly due to increased production of oleochemicals during the pandemic.Oleochemicals are chemicals derived from oils and fats of both vegetable and animal origins, and are processed into soaps, shampoos and detergents, as well as other consumer and industrial products, including sanitation and pharmaceutical products.Joko added that the market share of domestic consumption grew 37 percent compared to exports, due to high domestic demand“In June, the domestic market share for palm oil products reached an unseen level of 37 percent, as last year’s figure was around 30 percent. Hopefully, we can maintain our strong domestic market and attain equilibrium,” he said.Chairman Togar Sitanggang of the Indonesian Oleochemical Manufacturers Association (Apolin) said that oleochemical exports had spiked 24 percent yoy in the first half to reach 1.8 million tons for a total value of $1.3 billion.As demand for oleochemicals continued to rise, Apolin projected that full-year exports could reach 3.7 million tons with an estimated value of $2.6 billion, higher than last year’s figure of 3.2 million tons valued at around $2 billion.“Everyone has a sanitation product in their pocket [now], which has increased demand for oleochemical products and overall production. We also haven’t experienced any disruption thanks to the government, and no overseas orders have been cancelled,” Togar said.Topics : Indonesia, the biggest palm oil producer in the world, saw production and exports of the commodity contract in the first half of the year due to economic impacts of the pandemic as well as rolling impacts of drought and a price crash in previous years, the industry association has stated.The Indonesian Oil Palm Association (GAPKI) reported that half-year production of crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel oil (PKO) had declined 9.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 23.5 million tons.While the COVID-19 health crisis played a role in the decline in palm oil production, said GAPKI chairman Joko Supriyono, the palm oil price crash in 2018 and last year’s prolonged drought due to El Niño had a major effect on overall output.last_img read more