Highlights in the media today: Consortium of local researchers manage to produce polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry issues ‘new normal’ scenario, Indonesia’s imports fall by 18.58%

Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) Research and Innovation for COVID-19 Mitigation Task Force (TFRIC) Chair Soni Solistia said that a consortium of local researchers has managed to produce a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kit called TFRIC-19 Biocov 19.

As many as 50,000 test kits have been distributed to laboratories across the country. Soni said that they planned to distribute 100,000 test kits by the end of May.

As of May 18 16:29 (GMT+7), Indonesia had recorded 18,010 COVID-19 cases with 4,324 recoveries and 1,191 deaths.

State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry has issued a letter to president directors of SOE in anticipation of SOEs’ ‘new normal’ scenario to gradually resume economic activities in five phases (May 15).

In the first phase, which is set to start on May 25, SOEs employees under 45 year old will return to work, while industry and service sectors will resume operation with limited hours and the health sector will resume full operation.

The second phase will start from June 1 and will allow retail sectors to reopen. Meanwhile, the third phase will start on June 8 and will allow tourism and education sectors to resume operations. The fourth phase, which will begin on June 29, will allow all sectors to operate normally.

Demand for cash is lower than usual in this year’s Eid, as people have changed their spending habits, preferring online shopping and non-cash transactions nowadays.

Indonesia’s imports have fallen for 10 consecutive months in April, signaling cooling economic activity going forwards. The country recorded $12.54 billion in imports in April, an 18.58% drop from the same period last year.

Imports of consumer goods plunged 16.6%, while incoming shipments of materials and capital goods dropped 19.1% and 17.1%, respectively, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Friday (May 15).

Indonesian Commerce and Industry Deputy Chairwoman Shinta Kamdan said on Friday (May 15) that the situation might pose risks of further deindustrialization, as it is unknown whether the industry may be able to produce normally again or not.

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