Highlights in the media today: Fewer new cases may signify lack of testing, “new normal”: nine sectors to reopen, government’s stimulus package not enough to mitigate economic impacts of pandemic. 

On June 7, government spokesperson for COVID-19 affairs Achmad Yurianto said that ten provinces—including Yogyakarta, East Kalimantan, and Riau Islands—recorded fewer than five new cases. Several other provinces—such as East Nusa Tenggara, Jambi, and North Sumatra—recorded zero new cases.

Laporcovid-19.org epidemiologist Iqbal Elyazar said that a decrease in the number of new cases did not necessarily mean that the virus had been successfully contained. It might also signify a lack of testing in those regions.

Universitas Airlangga Patient Safety Research Center Head Inge Dhamanti said that in many regions, including East Java, the number of tests was still insufficient. Inge said that the long waiting time to receive lab results had also caused many people under surveillance and patients under treatment to die before receiving their test results.

As of June 8 16:10 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 32,033 COVID-19 cases with 10,904 recoveries and 1,883 deaths.

Nine sectors will be reopened with health protocols in place, including mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture, fishery, and logistics. The government considers the nine sectors to have a low risk of COVID-19 transmission and high economic impacts.

According to Home Affairs Ministry Regional Administration Acting Director General Safrizal, several regencies and cities have been deemed ready to implement the protocols—14 areas in Aceh, 14 areas in North Sumatra, two areas in Riau, one area in Central Kalimantan, one area in Central Java, 14 areas in East Nusa Tenggara, three areas in North Sulawesi, and 17 areas in Papua.

Economists and business representatives said that the government’s stimulus package would still not be enough to prevent the economic consequences of the pandemic. Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia Research Director Piter Abdullah said that the country needed a bigger healthcare budget to manage the outbreak and anticipate the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic.

The state budget to fight COVID-19 is now Rp677.2 trillion, higher than the Rp641.17 trillion allocation in May. Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Chairwoman Shinta Kamdani said that the government would need Rp400 trillion for healthcare, Rp600 trillion for social safety net programs, and Rp600 trillion for economic recovery.

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