Highlights in the media today: COVID-19 drug requires further examination, crowd build-up in commuter line ‘inevitable’, official says, household spending key to prevent recession.

The RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) trial led by a team of researchers from the University of Oxford found that dexamethasone can reduce deaths in COVID-19 patients.

Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPUI) Chairman Agus Dwi Susanto said on Wednesday (June 17) that the organization is currently waiting for the result of its evaluation on the effectiveness and efficacy of dexamethasone for COVID-19 therapy, which is expected to come out next week.

According to the guidelines of the COVID-19 protocol published by PDPUI and other medical organizations, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been used to treat COVID-19 patients. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revoked the emergency usage authorization for the two drugs because they increased the risk of heart problems.

As of June 18 16:13 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 1,331 new cases of COVID-19, which brought the tally to 42,762 cases with 16,798 recoveries and 2,339 deaths

Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) reported that passenger numbers had surged to 279,000 on June 9 alone, from the average 80,000 per day during the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB). KCI said that even though it has increased the number of daily trips to 935 per day from the 784 prior to the relaxation of PSBB and has increased the number of carriages in each train, passenger crowding is “inevitable”.

KCI VP Corporate Communication Anne Purba said in a statement on June 7 that the company had reached maximum optimization of its facilities.

Indonesia’s economic growth still relies on household spending. Therefore, social safety net stimulus and economic reliefs for the business sector are necessary to boost consumption growth. In Q1 2020, Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.97% year-on-year (yoy), while household spending grew by 2.84% yoy.

Bank Mandiri Head Economist Andry Asmoro said in a teleconference on Wednesday (June 17) that the government needed to accelerate relief disbursement to boost people’s purchasing power. This year, the government projected the economy to grow around 0%-1%, with  a 3.1% contraction in Q2 2020. The government has allocated Rp203.9 trillion for the social safety net in the COVID-19 mitigation budget. Only 28.63% or Rp60 trillion of which had been disbursed in May, according to the Finance Ministry data.


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