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Highlights in the media today: Developed countries race to secure COVID-19 vaccines, Muslims to celebrate Eid al-Adha with health protocols tomorrow, Govt focuses on boosting economic growth, increasing job opportunities. 

Developed countries are racing to secure as many COVID-19 vaccines as possible, which may make it harder for developing countries to access them.

For instance, on Wednesday (July 29), the United Kingdom signed a deal to procure 60 million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The country also signed three similar deals with other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers.

The United States has also been investing in research and development through its Warp Speed Operation to secure COVID-19 vaccine supply for its domestic needs.

As of July 30 16:01 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 106,336 COVID-19 cases with 64,292 recoveries and 5,058 deaths. The government had also identified 57,723 COVID-19 suspects.

The Indonesian Ulema Council has called on Muslims nationwide to comply with health protocols when they celebrate Eid al-Adha, which will fall on Friday (July 31). People living in considerably safer areas are allowed to perform mass prayers in mosques with health protocols in place, while people in red zones are advised to pray at home.

Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said that the Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta would not hold Eid al-Adha prayers this year. Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said that there would be no ban on mudik (exodus) during Eid al-Adha.

National Economic Recovery and Transformation Task Force Chair Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Wednesday (July 29) that the government would focus on programs specifically aimed at maintaining economic growth and increasing job opportunities in Q3 2020.

The programs include the disbursement of working capital and low-interest loans for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Under the programs, the government will provide each beneficiary with Rp2.4 million working capital or Rp2 million low-interest loan.

Currently, the task force has identified one million MSMEs as beneficiaries but is planning to increase the number to 12 million.

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