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Highlights in the media today: Jakarta ensures enough burial grounds for COVID-19 patients, Discussion underway for Greater Jakarta COVID-19 Task Force, Indonesia records deflation for three consecutive months.

The Jakarta administration has been trying to ensure the availability of burial grounds amid rising COVID-19 deaths. Jakarta had by October 1 recorded a total of 1,737 COVID-19 deaths, with case fatality rate reaching 2.3%.

Jakarta Vice Governor Ahmad Riza Patria said on Thursday (October 1) that the administration constantly checked the availability of burial grounds and had been preparing a special burial site for COVID-19 patients, which was expected to be ready within the next three months.

Universitas Indonesia School of Public Health Epidemiology Department Head Tri Yunis Miko said that ensuring the availability of burial grounds was important, however reducing the fatality rate remained the highest priority.

As of October 2 16:11 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 295,449 COVID-19 cases, with 221,340 recoveries and 10,972 deaths. In the past 24 hours, the country found 4,317 new cases. Indonesia had also identified 135,348 suspected cases.

Depok City COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dadang Wihana revealed that there was a proposal to create Greater Jakarta COVID-19 Task Force to unify the responses in the region. The high mobility of people within the region’s cities, districts, and provinces should be a strong reason to unify the command.

The proposal was met with mixed responses. Banten Governor Wahidin Halim welcomed the proposal and said on Thursday (October 1) that the Banten administration was ready to coordinate with other administrations in the region.

Meanwhile, Bekasi Mayor Rahmat Effendi was not convinced by the idea. He emphasized that each leader had their own characteristics, capability, and leadership style.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said that he would be working from Depok starting next week to focus on curbing COVID-19 transmissions in West Java’s cities and regencies bordering Jakarta (Bogor, Depok, Bekasi).

Indonesia is likely to see a deeper economic contraction in Q3 as the country has recorded a decline in three consecutive months for the first time since the 1999 Asian financial crisis. The consumer price index (CPI) fell 0.05% in September from a month earlier, driven by lower airline fares and food prices.

Deflation stood at 0.05% month-on-month in August after 0.1% monthly deflation in July, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data. On that basis, Indonesia’s annual inflation stood at 1.42% in September, far below Bank Indonesia’s (BI) target of 2%-4% this year.

September’s core inflation rate, which excluded volatile food and government-controlled prices, was 1.86% year-on-year (yoy), below the 2.03% rate in August, signaling sluggish demand for goods. Administered prices were up 0.63% yoy, while volatile prices recorded an annual inflation of 0.55%.

Bank Permata economist Josua Pardede said that the decline in consumer prices reflected the low demand for goods and services, along with a fall in commodity prices during the harvest season.

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