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Highlights in the media today: LIPI’s immunomodulators at clinical trial phase, Anticipating new clusters at tourism destinations, Indonesia lifts ban on migrant worker placement to boost economy. 

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) is conducting clinical trials of its immunomodulator products, which can help to boost the immune system of COVID-19 patients.

LIPI Biotechnology Research Center researcher Masteria Yunolvisa Putra said that the clinical trials had been conducted since June 8. About 90 test subjects, who are patients at the Athletes Village COVID-19 emergency hospital, participated in the trial. The result is expected to be announced on August 16, Masteria said on Monday (August 3).

LIPI is testing two immunomodulator products. One is formulated with the extracts of Cordyceps militaris fungus, while the other is formulated with a combination of herbal ingredients. The Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has issued the distribution permit for both products.

As of August 4 16:11 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 115,056 COVID-19 cases with 72,050 recoveries and 5,388 deaths.

The government might need to take extra precautions to prevent the emergence of new clusters at tourism destinations, as several regions have begun to reopen their borders to tourists. Bali, for instance, has been reopened for local tourists since Friday (July 31) and is set to accept foreign tourists in September.

According to Statistics Indonesia National Transportation and Tourism Index, which was published on Monday, people traveled more in June than in May, as the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) were being eased.

An increase in the number of foreign travelers can be observed in several airports, including Kualanamu Airport in North Sumatra, which recorded a 9,400% increase, and Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport in South Sumatra, which recorded a 750% increase. The hotel occupancy rate also reached 19.7% in June, a 5.25% increase from the occupancy rate in May.

The Manpower Ministry issued a new regulation on Thursday (July 29) to reopen the recruitment and placement of Indonesian migrant workers. Previously on March 20, the ministry issued a regulation to temporarily halt the placement of migrant workers in foreign countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah said on Thursday that the regulation was aimed at accelerating national economic recovery. As many as 88,973 migrant workers were ready to be sent abroad to 14 countries, the minister said.

According to data from the ministry’s Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI), 3,742,440 Indonesian migrant workers abroad sent home a total of Rp160 trillion in remittances in 2019.

Source:

  • Kompas.com, August 4, 2020, Indonesia confirms 115,056 COVID-19 cases

  • Kompas, August 4, 2020, p.8, Immunomodulator products at clinical trial phase

  • Kompas, August 4, 2020, p.10, Beware of clusters at tourism destinations

  • The Jakarta Post, August 4, 2020, p.3, Government reopens migrant worker placement to boost economy

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