Daily Archives: June 6, 2020

Indonesia, UK united in push for affordable, accessible vaccines

Jakarta Indonesia and the United Kingdom are united in the push for providing affordable vaccines to all levels of the global community, including in remote areas, said British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Owen Jenkins.

He made the statement at a virtual press conference in Jakarta on Friday.

The ambassador said the joint desire of both countries was reflected in the Global Vaccine Summit, held by the vaccine alliance GAVI on Thursday (June 4, 2020).

“I am very pleased to say that the UK and Indonesia are united behind this approach — the desire for an affordable vaccine, which is accessible to everyone,” Jenkins stated.

The summit was attended by more than 60 ministers, and heads of state and governments, including Indonesia’s Minister of Health, Terawan Agus Putranto, who spoke in support of
affordable and accessible vaccines in his video message.

In his address, the minister said that reaching remote communities remains a challenge in the efforts to distribute vaccines, and that all parties involved must use every opportunity possible to protect people from the many diseases for which vaccines are already available.

“I believe that vaccines will continue to serve as a foundation for health and wellbeing for all. It is through solidarity, joint action, and tireless commitment to leaving no one behind that we can create a healthier future together,” he asserted.

Both Indonesia and the UK have sought a more vast reach for vaccines that are already available for various diseases, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine — which is still in the development phase — once it is available.

The health minister also affirmed that Indonesia is ready to contribute to scaling-up of production of COVID-19 antivirals and vaccines for global needs.

Responding to Minister Putranto’s video message at the summit, Ambassador Owen Jenkins expressed his appreciation of Indonesia’s support, saying that the representation from various countries, including Indonesia, shows that everyone knows that in this world of unprecedented challenge, unprecedented global cooperation is needed.

“Only by working through our shared institutions, the UN, the WHO, the G20, and others, can we deliver a strong response to the health crisis that we need. The world needs Indonesia to be involved in that, and it was fantastic that yesterday, the world heard Indonesia’s voice in this context,” he stated.

The GAVI Summit was held to raise funds to provide vaccines to 300 million children in the world’s poorest countries before the year 2025. The fundraising target was set at US$7.4 billion.

“The summit smashed its financial goals. It raised more than US$8.8 billion, that is Rp124 trillion, it was way above the goal,” Jenkins revealed.

He said the response to the fundraising rather than the quantum of funds raised was telling, as throughout the summit, the most repeated phrase was: no one is safe until everyone is safe.



Source: Antara News

West Sumatra to enter new normal phase from June 8


Padang, W Sumatra West Sumatra will apply a new normal order since June 8 to facilitate resumption of daily work and routine activities, as large-scale social restriction and distancing measures will be lifted on Sunday, the governor stated.

Nonetheless, all community members must consistently practice the government’s healthcare and COVID-19 protocols while working, studying at schools, and conducting religious activities, West Sumatra Governor Irwan Prayitno stated in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra Province, on Saturday.

Speaking at the “halal bihalal,” or post-Idul Fitri gathering, event held by the alumni of Andalas University’s (Unand’s) Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, he emphasized that consistency and discipline in practicing the COVID-19 protocols will be the key to successfully adapting to the new normal.

To this end, he stressed on the need to constantly practice preventive measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, such as by wearing face masks, maintaining recommended physical distancing measure, washing hands with soap, and reducing physical meetings.

Until this time, experts are yet uncertain as to when the COVID-19 pandemic can be brought under control amid the unavailability of this virus vaccine.

“It is impossible for us to enter a new normal life after this novel coronavirus pandemic totally ends,” he stated. On June 2, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had held discussions with eight interfaith leaders representing Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism over the government’s preparations to enforce a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the meeting held at the Merdeka Palace, President Jokowi sought opinions from the interfaith leaders on imposition of new normal procedures at houses of worship in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the company of Vice President Ma’ruf Amin and State Secretary Pratikno, President Jokowi drew emphasis to the fact that the COVID-19 outbreak was not solely a public health issue but it also had socio-economic repercussions on communities owing to its wide-ranging impacts on other sectors of life.

The Jakarta provincial government extended the enforcement of its large-scale social restrictions but concurrently declared a transitional period. As a result, Friday prayers had resumed at several mosques in the capital city though adhering to stringent COVID-19 protocols.

Coronavirus infections initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Since then, COVID-19 has spread to over 215 countries and territories, including Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll.

The Indonesian government officially confirmed the country’s first cases on March 2 this year.



Source: Antara News


Court rules govt’s internet shutdown decision in Papua as unlawful

Jakarta The Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) ruled that the Indonesian government’s decision to block internet communication in Papua and West Papua last year was “unlawful.”

“(We have) prosecuted (and) granted the plaintiff’s claim,” Nelvy Christin, chief of the panel of judges, remarked here, Wednesday.

The Press Freedom Defenders Team, comprising the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia, South East Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), Press Legal Assistance Institution (LBH Press), YLBHI, KontraS, Elsam, and ICJR, filed the lawsuit.

In the meantime, President Joko Widodo and the communication and informatics minister were listed as Defendant I and Defendant II.

“We (hereby) state that the actions of the government, carried out by Defendant I and Defendant II, were unlawful acts by government bodies and/or officials,” the judge stated.

These actions comprise throttling or slowing down access or bandwidth in several regions of the provinces of West Papua and Papua on August 19, 2019, from 1 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. local time. Secondly, there was blockage of data services and/or the complete termination of internet access in Papua Province’s 29 cities and districts and West Papua Province’s 13 cities and districts since August 21, until at least September 4, 2019, at 11 p.m. local time.

Thirdly, blockage of data services and/or termination of internet access had been extended in Papua Province’s four cities and districts, specifically Jayapura City, Jayapura District, Mimika District, and Jayawijaya District, and West Papua Province’s two cities and districts comprising Manokwari City and Sorong City, from September 4, 2019, at 11 p.m. Eastern Indonesian Time, to September 9, 2019, at 6 p.m./8 p.m. local time.

“(We are) punishing Defendant I and Defendant II and are required to pay the cost of the case jointly to the tune of Rp457 thousand,” she noted.

Minister of Communications and Informatics, Johnny G. Plate, stated that he respected the Court’s decision.

“We respect the court’s decision, but we also reserve legal rights as defendants. We will speak to the State Attorney to decide on the subsequent legal step,” the minister revealed.

Plate expounded that he had yet to discover documents pertaining to the government’s decision to block or restrict internet access in the region.

“I also did not find information on meetings at the Ministry of Communication and Information related to this matter. However, there could have been damage to the telecommunications infrastructure that led to internet disruption in the area,” he remarked.

Minister Plate laid emphasis on the fact that President Widodo had formed policies in the best interests of the state and people of Indonesia, including those of Papua.

“I am grateful if the policy can also benefit other nations and not solely for the interests of a handful of people or groups that are not necessarily in line with the interests of our nation and country. We certainly hope that further freedom of expression and expression of democracy through cyberspace can be achieved in smarter and more responsible ways and be used for activities that are beneficial to our nation,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the plaintiff’s legal counsel, Muhammad Isnur, lauded the decision of the Court’s judge, as he was said to have made several human rights considerations in his process.

“The Jakarta State Administrative Court’s decision to declare the slowdown and blocking of the internet as an unlawful act also opens up the possibility for those, who feel aggrieved by the policy, to sue and seek compensation, of course, after having permanent legal force,” Isnur noted.



Source: Antara News

South Sulawesi government involves Unhas in COVID-19 prevention team

Makassar, S Sulawesi The Hasanuddin University’s (Unhas’) Public Health Faculty welcomed the South Sulawesi provincial government’s suggestion to join its COVID-19 prevention and mitigation team in response to Governor HM Nurdin Abdullah’s visit to the faculty’s campus, Friday.

Governor Abdullah officially sought the faculty’s participation in developing prevention and mitigation strategies along with those from the provincial government’s COVID-19 team, Dean of Unhas’ Public Health Faculty Aminuddin Syam stated here, Saturday.

“Mr. governor has sought institutional collaboration with the provincial administration to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic to fill the gap in human resources. We are urged to get involved directly in developing strategies to halt transmission of the virus,” he noted.

Governor Abdullah has sought a comprehensive and integrated handling of COVID-19 cases, including the involvement of epidemiologists and those with contact tracing capabilities, he revealed.

South Sulawesi is one of the Indonesian provinces affected by the coronavirus infections that initially emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Indonesian authorities had enacted large-scale social restrictions and distancing measures in various cities, including Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Province, and metropolitan areas of Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi.

Makassar has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Sulawesi. To prevent the spread of the virus, Governor Abdullah appealed to outsiders to defer their plans to visit the province during the recent Idul Fitri “mudik” season.

“Mudik” refers to the annual exodus of citizens to their hometowns to celebrate Idul Fitri with their extended families and colleagues.

Apart from enforcing large-scale social restrictions and banning mudik, the central government has also initiated COVID-19 research and innovation projects to enable it to accelerate the handling of this deadly virus pandemic.

In connection with this program, the Indonesian Research and Technology Ministry revealed it had accrued funds reaching almost Rp200 billion for financing research on developing a vaccine, medicines, and other innovative products to support Indonesia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We believe that the funds we have collected are sufficient to finance research and innovation efforts up to the prototype stage,” Research and Technology Minister Bambang P. S. Brodjonegoro noted in a statement circulated on YouTube on May 27.


Source: Antara News

Policeman dies of COVID-19 in Papua


Jayapura, Papua A 50-year-old police officer succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease in Jayapura on Friday, according to spokesperson for the Papua Provincial Administration’s COVID-19 task force, Silwanus Sumule.

The policeman was the first COVID-19 inpatient without co-morbidities to die of the infection, Sumule told ANTARA on Saturday in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province.

“We have thoroughly checked the deceased’s medical record and are convinced that his death had nothing to do with co-morbidities,” he said, adding that several other police officers had tested positive for COVID-19, but most of them had made a full recovery.

Sumule said the policeman was buried at a local cemetery with the observance of COVID-19 protocols.

Meanwhile, head of the Papua Police Health Division, Sen.Coms. Agustinus, said 15 police officers in the province have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

They are currently under isolation in several quarantine sites, he informed.

As of Friday, Papua Province has recorded 929 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 286 recoveries and 14 deaths.

Meanwhile, at present, 629 COVID-19 patients remain admitted at local hospitals.

While handling COVID-19 cases, medical workers in Papua have been on the alert for the security threat posed by armed Papuan rebels.

On May 22, 2020, two medical workers — Almalek Bagau and Eunico Somou — from the Wandai Health Center in Intan Jaya District were reportedly shot by armed rebels while they were delivering drugs for COVID-19 patients. Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw condemned the attack saying that it could not be justified on any ground.

“I have informed the central government about the incident, which needs to be strongly condemned. The shooting of the two medical workers who were on a humanitarian mission is really inhumane,” he said in Timika, the capital of Mimika District, recently.

According to police, Bagau and Somou were carrying walkie-talkie devices to communicate with the local COVID-19 post as there was no cellular network in the area. This led their attackers to mistake them for security personnel and open fire at them.

“If they (rebels) want to face military and police personnel, that’s their business. But, they must not kill humanitarian workers. Instead of killing humanitarian workers, they must assist them and thank them,” Waterpauw said.


Source: Antara News