Highlights in the media today: More infectious COVID-19 mutation detected in Indonesia, 100 doctors in Indonesia died due to COVID-19, Economists say govt should focus on real sector instead of changing regulatory framework.
The Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology has reportedly detected a mutant variant of the coronavirus in Indonesia that is deemed more infectious than the original strain found in Wuhan, China. The mutation, widely known as the D614G mutation, has been found in eight of the 22 whole genome sequences reported in Indonesia.
Eijkman Institute Chairman Amin Soebandrio said on Saturday (August 29) that researchers have yet to estimate the percentage of infected people carrying this mutant variation, but Amin believed the said strain had been spread to most patients in the country.
Laboratory experiments allowed researchers to conclude that the virus was 10 times more transferable from cell to cell than the original strain found in China. However, more studies were needed to know whether the same conclusion could also apply to humans.
He added that the mutation would not affect the efficacy of potential vaccines currently being tested, as it did not alter the virus’s receptor binding domain that allowed the virus to infect cells.
As of September 1 16:07 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 177,571 COVID-19 cases, with 128,057 recoveries and 7,505 deaths.
A total of 100 doctors have died from COVID-19, according to the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) on Monday (August 31). IDI Chairman Daeng M. Fiqih said that the association had coordinated with the National COVID-19 Task Force and relevant departments to ensure the availability of protective equipment in hospitals and health facilities so as to prevent more deaths among health workers.
Hospitals should also issue a special policy that temporarily prohibited health personnel with comorbidities and those who were at higher risk of contracting the virus from working. He added that health professionals should also be required to regularly take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to ensure a safe working environment.
The government is currently reassessing various bills and regulations on financial stability to anticipate the impacts of the crisis. Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) Senior Economist Aviliani, however, said that changing the regulatory framework was not always the right crisis response.
According to Aviliani, the current economic problems were caused by the real sector being unable to operate normally. As long as the real sector remained under pressure, the banking sector would continue to be selective in credit disbursement, regardless of any change made to the regulation.
Bank Indonesia (BI) Money Circulation Data, showed that the banking sector disbursed Rp5,536 trillion worth of credit as of July 2020, booking a 1% growth year-on-year (yoy).
Meanwhile, Indef economist Bhima Yudhistira expressed concern about BI’s independence, as the government was looking into issuing a regulation-in-lieu-of-law (Perppu) to merge the command of Indonesia’s three financial institutions—BI, the Financial Service Authority (OJK) and the Indonesian Deposit Insurance Corporation (LPS).
Kompas.com, September 1, 2020, Indonesia confirms 177,571 COVID-19 cases
The Jakarta Post, September 1, 2020, p.3, ‘More infectious’ coronavirus mutation detected in Indonesia
The Jakarta Post, September 1, 2020, p.2, 100 doctors in Indonesia have died from COVID-19: IDI
Kompas, September 1, 2020, p.10, Govt should focus more on real sector