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Highlights in the media today: People doubt Jakarta’s claims of having controlled the pandemic in the region, Central Java contains pandemic through community-based approach, President approves new state budget with 6.34% deficit. 

Jakarta officials claimed that they had brought the outbreak “under control”, a statement that has raised eyebrows as new cases still appear in the city. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said that the number of new cases remained low thanks to the double testing that officials had been conducting since early June to shore up negative results.

As of June 21, the COVID-19 reproductive rate in the city was at 0.98, according to the Jakarta Health Office. The World Health Organization requires a region to have, among others, a testing capacity of below 0.1% of the population per week and a positivity rate of below 5%, before it can begin to reopen the economy.

Jakarta has tested at 0.22%, 0.18%, and 0.13% for each week during the three weeks of  the transitional PSBB and has had a positivity rate ranging between 3.3% and 6.2% for the past two weeks, according to data from the city administration’s website.

In addition to the metrics, the governor said that the capital’s healthcare facilities for treating COVID-19 patients had much improved. The Jakarta Health Office recorded 4,556 beds and 659 intensive care units (ICUs) last week, an increase from 904 beds and 80 ICUs in March.

As of June 29 13:42 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 55,092 COVID-19 cases with 23,800 recoveries and 2,805 deaths.

Central Java, home to more than 30 million people, has come up with its own containment strategy dubbed Jogo Tonggo (neighbors looking after each other), a community movement program in which people collaborate to ensure people maintain physical distance, manage food supplies, and help others in response to the pandemic.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said that his administration did not have sufficient funds and resources to impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) measures for a long period of time and hence has decided to empower communities at the grassroots level to adapt to the current situation.

Doubts over the efficacy of the Jogo Tonggo program, however, remain as the number of COVID-19 cases in Central Java continues to rise, reaching 3,482 cases with 150 deaths as of Saturday (June 27), the fourth-highest tally in the country. Ganjar said that only 30% of the province’s 7,809 villages were actively reporting their Jogo Tonggo activities.

President Joko Widodo on Wednesday (June 24) signed Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 72/2020, which regulates an increase in state spending and a widening state budget deficit. The government now officially states that the 2020 state budget deficit is expected to reach Rp1.03 quadrillion or 6.34% of GDP after several high-ranking officials mentioned the figure in recent days.

The latest regulation stipulates that state spending, which includes government spending and regional direct transfers and village funds, may reach Rp2.73 quadrillion this year, an increase of Rp125.3 trillion from the figure stated in the previous regulation announced in April.

State income is expected to reach Rp1.69 quadrillion, a decrease of Rp60.9 trillion from the government’s earlier projection due to lower tax collection as the pandemic hit all economic sectors. The government has allocated Rp695.2 trillion in stimulus spending in a bid to prevent a more severe economic downturn and strengthen healthcare systems amid the pandemic.

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