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Highlights in the media today: 11 immunomodulator products under development; teachers, pediatricians criticize government’s decision to expand school reopening; Govt to disburse Rp534.98t until end of year.

Indonesia is planning to accelerate the research and procurement of COVID-19-related drugs. Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) Traditional Medicines, Health Supplements, and Cosmetics Monitoring Department Deputy Mayagustina Andarini said on Monday (August 10) that at least 11 immunomodulator products are being developed.

The agency is currently assisting the trials of these products. Mayagustina asserted that so far, BPOM has not approved any claims regarding the benefits of herbal medicines in treating COVID-19 patients.

As of August 11 16:37 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 128,776 COVID-19 cases with 83,710 recoveries and 5,824 deaths.

The government’s decision to allow more schools to reopen has drawn strong criticism from pediatricians and teachers. Despite a daily increase in infections, the government, on Friday (August 7), expanded the school reopening policy to schools in COVID-19 yellow zones (moderate-risk areas).

The Federation of Indonesian Teachers Associations (FSGI) said that the decision could prompt the emergence of school clusters. The organization reported that at least 180 teachers and students across the country had tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Indonesia Pediatric Society (IDAI) Chairman Aman Bhakti Pulungan questioned whether regions have an adequate number of polymerase chain reaction tests and intensive care beds to anticipate a potential spike in cases among children. The IDAI strongly opposes the decision to reopen schools, Aman asserted.

The government is looking to disburse Rp534.98 trillion in COVID-19 stimulus funding in the remaining months of the year through proposed new programs and streamlined bureaucracy.

The new stimulus programs range from a continuation of existing programs, such as fund placement in banks, electricity discounts, and the Family Hope program, as well as new programs intended to spur economic growth and boost people’s purchasing power, the Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on Monday (August 10).

The new proposed stimulus programs, totalling Rp126.2 trillion, will be financed from reserves and budget reallocations from the government’s COVID-19 stimulus package.

The government is planning to provide wage subsidies to 15.7 million workers to spur consumer spending. Workers with a monthly salary of less than Rp5 million will each be given Rp600,000 for four months starting next month.

Source:

  • Kompas.com, August 11, 2020, Indonesia confirms 1,693 new COVID-19 cases

  • Kompas, August 11, 2020, p.1,15, Govt pushing for vaccine research, budget realization

  • The Jakarta Post, August 11, 2020, p.1, Reopening of more schools angers teachers

  • The Jakarta Post, August 11, 2020, p.1, Govt to rework $37b stimulus

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