Highlights in the media today: WHO says pandemic ‘far from over’, West Java prepares for ‘new normal’, economist urges government to increase healthcare stimulus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to press on with efforts to contain the virus. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that more than 136,000 new cases were reported worldwide on Sunday (June 7), the most in a single day so far. Almost 75% of those cases come from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia.

As of June 10 16:16 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 34,316 COVID-19 cases with 12,129 recoveries and 1,959 deaths.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has issued a circular on the province’s plan to prepare for the “new normal” to resume certain activities under strict health protocols. In the circular, Ridwan asked regents and mayors to set PSBB policies in proportion to the level of emergency in their respective areas.

The West Java administration had decided to extend PSBB in Bogor, Depok, and Bekasi until July 2. West Java COVID-19 Task Force Secretary Daud Achmad said that policies would be adjusted for each district, village, and sub-district based on the level of emergency. The policy would also be adjusted to Jakarta’s plan to gradually ease restrictions in several sectors in June.

Regency and city administrations are required to submit a proposal to revoke PSBB and implement the “new normal” policy to the health minister through their governor. The administrations must attach a study showing their preparedness to implement the policy, Daud said.

Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) economist Bhima Yudhistira said that a greater healthcare stimulus was needed to increase the country’s healthcare capabilities, which would in turn support the gradual reopening of the economy, so that COVID-19 transmission would not spike and cause a second wave of infections. A second wave would result in another economic downturn, negating the government’s attempts to boost the economy, he said.

The government has increased the country’s COVID-19 stimulus package to Rp677.2 trillion, Rp589.65 trillion of which will be allocated to support the country’s economic recovery, while the remaining 87.55 trillion will go to healthcare improvements.

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