Highlight in the media today: West Java relies on innovation to fight COVID-19, hotels, tourist destinations reopen with health cautions, unemployment rate may continue to worsen next year.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said that cooperation between stakeholders and innovation were two of the five key measures that his administration had been focusing on in its COVID-19 response. For instance, Universitas Padjadjaran (Unpad) and Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) have been working together to develop Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) sensors.

Unpad has also partnered with Tekad Mandiri Citra and Pakar Biomedika Indonesia to develop a rapid antigen detection test, CePAD, which Ridwan called “rapid test 2.0”. CePAD and the SPR sensors could present alternatives to rapid antibody tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, respectively. The prototypes are being tested by the Health Ministry before authorization.

As of June 25 16:12 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 50,187 COVID-19 cases with 20,449 recoveries and 2,620 deaths.

On Friday, June 19, 2020, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto signed a decree on health guidelines for public facilities, including hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, and tourist destinations. In general, such establishments are required to provide hand sanitizers in public spaces, clean these areas with disinfectant at least three times a day, and maintain proper ventilation by prioritizing fresh air circulation or periodically replacing air conditioner filters.

Temperature checks and the use of face masks are also mandatory for both employees and guests. People without masks are barred from public facilities and spaces. The 50% cap on venue capacity, however, is not included in the decree, which instead has a one-meter social distancing rule.

Unemployment rate is expected to continue to worsen next year, National Development Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa said. Some 5.5 million people may lose their jobs this year, pushing the unemployment rate to between 8.1% and 9.2%, up from 5.28% last year.

As a result, up to 12.7 million people are expected to be unemployed by next year, up from 7.05 million people in 2019. The government expects 4 million additional people to fall below the poverty line this year, bringing the total number of people in poverty to 28 million people or around 10.6% of the population, up from 9.2% in September last year.

Suharso said that government intervention could reduce the number of additional people who fall into poverty to under one million so that it would not reach double digits this year. The government is targeting a poverty rate of between 9.2% to 9.7% next year, according to Suharso.


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