Highlights in the media today: President calls for standardized COVID-19 treatment and mass vaccination scheme, Asymptomatic transmission poses ever-present threat, Lax implementation of health protocols stunts economic recovery.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has asked hospitals assigned to treat patients infected with the virus to apply standardized procedures to ensure an optimal recovery rate. The president said on Monday (September 28) that uniform treatment of COVID-19 would be mandatory in intensive care units, isolation wards, and quarantine facilities.
President Jokowi also called on regional leaders to begin planning mass vaccination schemes as early as possible to ensure smooth sailing once a proven vaccine was available for widespread use. He asked the National COVID-19 Economic Recovery Committee to come up with a final plan for nationwide coronavirus vaccination within the next two weeks.
As of September 29 15:43 (GMT+7), Indonesia had recorded 282,724 COVID-19 cases, with 210,437 recoveries and 10,601 deaths.
National COVID-19 Task Force Chief Doni Monardo has issued a stern warning to the public about the importance of following COVID-19 protocols at all times, explaining that a person could carry the virus without knowing it and end up transmitting it to their family members and those closest to them.
Doni said that many people were continuing to ignore health protocols, such as maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask, and avoiding crowds, as they assumed they were immune to COVID-19 or even doubted there was a pandemic at all.
Around 7% of COVID-19 patients currently receiving treatment at the COVID-19 emergency hospital in the former athletes village in Jakarta said that they had rarely or never left home prior to their treatment. It was likely that they contracted the virus from their family members.
Doni warned people to remain cautious as COVID-19 will continue to exist even after a vaccine has been found. While people who have been vaccinated will be able to withstand it, those who have not, would still be exposed.
Indonesia might have ruined its chance of recovery this year due to the lax implementation of health protocols.
Indonesian Shopping Centers Tenants Association (Hippindo) Chairman Budihardjo Iduansjah said that only implementing the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in Jakarta was ineffective, as Jakartans swarmed malls in the province’s satellite cities during the weekend. The situation could potentially lead to the emergence of new clusters, which in turn might stunt economic recovery.
Hippindo Expert Staff Yongky Surya Susilo said on Monday that retailers in the lifestyle category would continue to see a negative trend, while food and beverage retailers might only be able to survive for up to three months.
Hippindo projected that daily needs retailers will see 4%-8% and 6%-10% growth year-on-year (yoy) in Q3 and Q4, respectively. In contrast, the lifestyle sector will shrink by 60%-40% in Q3 and 50%-20% in Q4.
The retail sector is demanding direct reliefs from the government, including tax breaks for income tax on rent, reimbursement for electricity, and wage subsidy for workers. The retail sector employs three million workers; without subsidies from the government, 50% of those workers were at risk of being furloughed or receiving pay cuts.
Kompas.com, September 29, 2020, Indonesia confirms 282,724 COVID-19 cases
The Jakarta Post, September 29, 2020, p.3, Jokowi demands standardized virus treatment
The Jakarta Post, September 29, 2020, p.3, Asymptomatic transmission poses ever-present threat: Task Force
Kompas, September 29, 2020, p.10, Recovery depends on strict implementation of health protocols