Highlights in the media today: Testing disparity poses challenges, Ventilation should be improved to reduce transmission risk, FDI declines for second consecutive quarter. 

Indonesia continues to face disparities in testing between regions in the country. Indonesia is now operating 269 laboratories to run polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for diagnoses. Half of these labs are located on Java Island.

All 34 provinces now have their own PCR machines, but provinces like Riau, North Maluku, North Kalimantan, and Southeast Sulawesi only operate one lab each, while Jambi, Bengkulu, Central Kalimantan, Gorontalo, and Maluku have two labs each.

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% of the total samples tested.

As of July 23 16:18 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 93,657 COVID-19 cases with 52,164 recoveries and 4,576 deaths. The government had also identified 47,756 suspects.

With evidence pointing at a possible airborne transmission of the SARS-CoV-2, ensuring good air circulation in closed spaces is important to reduce contamination risk. COVID-19 can be transmitted through micro-sized droplets (0.12 micron). Aerosols with a size of 3 microns can stay in the air for 1.5 hours before falling on a surface.

Universitas Indonesia Medicine Faculty Dean Ari Fahrial Syam said on Wednesday (July 22) that a space with closed air circulation and air conditioners might cause the virus to stay longer and travel further in the air.

With some offices beginning to resume operations, their workers should be cautious about transmission risk. He said that the pantry area would be one of the high-risk areas, as people usually take off their masks to eat or gather there to socialize.

Green Building Council Indonesia founder John Budi Harjanto Listijono said that there were three ways to reduce the risk of airborne transmission in closed spaces: installing exhaust ventilation systems, opening windows to increase air circulation, and using air purifiers.

The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) announced on Wednesday (July 22) that foreign direct investment (FDI) had fallen 6.9% year-on-year (yoy) to Rp97.6 trillion in the April-June period, continuing the downward trend recorded in Q1 when it dropped 9.2% yoy.

BKPM Head Bahlil Lahadalia said that the agency did not anticipate the decline, which was far from their target of attracting Rp200 trillion investment in Q2. FDI accounts for more than 30% of Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), making it the second-largest contributor after household spending.


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