Highlights in the media today: Govt prepares bill to standardize swab tests, More military personnel deployed to enforce health protocols, Indonesia to inject funds to eight SOEs.
Six months into the pandemic, Indonesia still does not have a regulation to standardize the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. Currently, the tests are available for the public at various prices and quality.
Human Development and Cultural Affairs Coordinating Ministry (Kemenko PMK) Health Quality Improvement and Population Development Coordinating Deputy Agus Suprapto said on Monday (September 21) that the government was preparing a regulation to standardize the price and quality of PCR tests in the country.
Standardization is important to ensure that the tracing, testing, and treatment (3T) process can run optimally as an effort of COVID-19 prevention.
As of September 21 16:10 (GMT+7), Indonesia had confirmed 248,852 COVID-19 cases, with 180,797 recoveries and 9,677 deaths. In the past 24 hours, the country recorded its highest-ever daily number of 4,176 new cases.
The government has increased the deployment of police and military personnel in an effort to improve compliance with health protocols.
Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said that the military and the police were joining forces to enforce the mask-wearing policy and social distancing measures. Each military command is tasked with guiding neighborhood units using assertive messages and health protocols, Luhut said on Friday (September 19).
Civil society organizations grouped under the Civil Society Coalition have said that the military is acting beyond its role and expertise in the enforcement of health protocols. They urged the government to allow experts to take the lead on health measures and emphasized the value of persuasion in spreading awareness about health protocols.
The government plans to provide Rp37.38 trillion in capital injections for eight SOEs, including Rp20 trillion for financing firm Bahana Pembinaan Usaha Indonesia (BPUI), Rp2.25 trillion for secondary mortgage market company Sarana Multigriya Finansial, Rp6.2 trillion for construction company Hutama Karya, and Rp 5 trillion for PLN.
The capital injections will be used to finance the development of Sumatra toll road, tourism development, and to fund the opening of Batang industrial area, among other projects, Finance Ministry Sri Mulyani said.
The injection for BPUI is meant to resolve the investment mismanagement of Jiwasraya. Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia Research Director Piter Abdullah said that the capital injections for SOEs would help support the economy amid uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kompas.com, September 21, 2020, Indonesia confirms 4,176 new cases
Kompas, September 21, 2020, p.15, Swab test still under-regulated
The Jakarta Post, September 21, 2020, p.1, Military deployed in coronavirus fight
The Jakarta Post, September 21, 2020, p.5, Govt to inject $2.5b in SOEs to stimulate economy