Highlights in the media today: Spike in daily new cases ‘not negative’, official says, schools in ‘green zones’ to reopen with precautions, Sri Mulyani: Indonesia may fall into recession.

As Indonesia transitions into the “new normal”, the country continues to report high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, with three new daily records reported since the beginning of June, as well as the highest death toll of 64 fatalities on Monday (June 15).

COVID-19 Task Force Expert Staff Chief Wiko Adisasmito, however, said that the spikes indicated an increase in the country’s polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid molecular testing and improved tracing capacities.

In the past week, Indonesia has recorded an average of 1,103 new cases from an average of 7,684 people tested daily, presenting a 14% positivity rate on average. Indonesia has tested 1.2 per 1,000 people, one of the lowest rates in the world, according to “Ourworldindata.org”.

As of June 17 13:04 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 41,431 COVID-19 cases with 16,243 recoveries and 2,276 deaths.

Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim announced on Monday (June 15) that the ministry will allow schools in green zones to reopen.

Around 90 districts and regencies across the country are considered green zones. The number of students in those areas is roughly equivalent to 6% of all students in the country, meaning that the remaining 94% still have to continue their education through online learning.

Schools are required to limit the amount of students per classroom to 18, or roughly 50% of their previous capacity. As a consequence, schools would have to implement a shift system to be able to accommodate all students.

Nadiem further said that parents would have the final say on whether they would allow their children to go to school or not. If they are not comfortable letting their children go to school, the school should allow the students to resume their online learning.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said on Tuesday (June 16) that large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Java have impacted the country’s economic performance in Q2 2020, which is predicted to contract by 3.1%. She added that a recession could happen if the contraction persisted in Q3.

The 2020 State Budget is set to contract by 9%. All revenue posts are expected to contract, except for customs revenue, which is expected to grow by 12.4%. The country recorded a tax revenue of Rp444.6 trillion—a 10.8% year-on-year decline. According to Sri, the government’s policy approach will continue to focus on managing the downside risks, to prevent the economy from deteriorating further.

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