Highlights in the media today: Experts warn against consuming so-called COVID-19 cures, President threatens to reshuffle cabinet, BI may buy zero-interest bonds to prop up budget.   

Alternative medical practices claiming to be cures for COVID-19 have become increasingly appealing. However, health experts have cautioned against taking these claims at face value. They have called on the government to bolster the screening process for new medicines to ensure that they are safe for public consumption.

In an online discussion held by the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) on Sunday (June 28), Universitas Indonesia (UI) epidemiologist Pandu Riono urged the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) to play a more active role during the pandemic to prevent the market from being saturated with questionable products that could exacerbate existing health hazards.

Health experts had previously warned the public against consuming chloroquine or dexamethasone without proper medical supervision. The side effects of chloroquine include weakened muscles and mental disorders.

As of June 30 16:05 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 56,385 COVID-19 cases with 24,806 recoveries and 2,876 deaths.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s fiery speech in a recent meeting with members of his Cabinet, which was circulated on Sunday, appears to be a sign of his frustration at the lack of progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and a threat that he will reshuffle his ministerial team if no progress is made.

Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said on Monday (June 29) that among many issues that the president was most concerned about were health care and delivery of social aid. KedaiKOPI Executive Director Kunto Adi Wibowo said that with his recent statement, Jokowi wanted officials in his government to have a more disciplined approach in tackling COVID-19.

Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said that the central bank and the government were in the final stages of preparing a burden-sharing scheme, adding that it would maintain good governance principles.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that the central bank might bear 100% of the coupon rate burden for bonds issued to finance programs considered to be of public interest, including health care, social protection, and financial support for regional governments. She expected the programs to amount to Rp397 trillion.

According to the Finance Ministry’s official material presented to the lawmakers, the interest rate burden from government bonds caused by the pandemic will be Rp66.5 trillion per year, with a yield assumption of 7.36% of the 10-year government bonds at the time. BI might bear Rp35.9 trillion of the total burden.

Source:

  • Kompas.com, June 30, 2020, Indonesia confirms 56,385 COVID-19 cases

  • The Jakarta Post, June 30, 2020, p.3, Experts warn of COVID-19 quackery, false cures

  • The Jakarta Post, June 30, 2020, p.1, Jokowi threatens Cabinet with reshuffle

  • Kompas, June 30, 2020, p.1, 15, President calls on Cabinet to lose sectoral ego

  • The Jakarta Post, June 30, 2020, p.2, BI may buy zero-interest bonds to aid budget 

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