May 15, 2020

Highlights in the media today: government to conduct PCR ‘pool tests’, no open houses and takbir parades in this year’s Eid al-Fitr, e-commerce and FMCG most optimistic about post-pandemic recovery. 

The government is planning to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) “pool tests” in eight virus-stricken provinces—Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Bali, North Sumatra, and South Sulawesi. The pool tests will use multi-stage random sampling with epidemiological, statistical, and survey approaches.

COVID-19 Task Force Chief Doni Monardo said that the pool tests would target 1,000 random people to get a rough idea of the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the epicenters of the outbreak.


As of May 15 16:00 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 16,496 COVID-19 cases with 3,803 recoveries and 1,076 deaths.

With the Eid holiday around the corner, the government has issued a recommendation for people not to hold gatherings, open houses, and takbir parades during Eid-al Fitr. If people insist, the gatherings should involve no more than five people, and everyone has to wear masks.

Jakarta Police Traffic Director Sambodo Purnomo Yogo said that although the government has banned ‘mudik’ (exodus) to cities outside Greater Jakarta, the field officers would not be able to prevent people from traveling within the Greater Jakarta area during Eid al-Fitr.

E-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) players in Indonesia, India, Singapore, and Vietnam are optimistic that their businesses will return to normal within five months—around a month earlier than expected by other sectors—Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Survey Sensum survey shows.

SurveySensum CEO Rajiv Lamba said during a webinar on Monday (May 11) that the two sectors were more optimistic because their businesses were not as impacted as other sectors.

According to a previous survey by the two institutions, Indonesia was also the most optimistic country, as businesses and customers believed that the current economic slowdown would be resolved in three to five months.

The positive sentiment, however, turned into apprehension after the government began to relax large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), as businesspeople and economists have expressed concerns that the move might result in a prolonged pandemic.



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