Indonesia Corona Virus Update #35 October 26, 2020
Cumulative number of reported cases: 392,934 (as of October 26 )
Rupiah to US$14,666
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 5144
The growth of cumulative cases is down to 6% week-on-week. Active cases (total minus deaths plus recoveries) declined 5%. Jakarta’s numbers declined 5%. The government wants all COVID patients to isolate at a hospital or designated and no longer permits this at homes.
Indonesia will provide the Covid-19 vaccine to 9.1 million people between November and December 2020, the Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto has announced. The first phase of vaccination will be carried out on the groups of people with highest risk of Covid-19 infections, namely medical and public service workers including airport employees, soldiers and police personnel. Furthermore, the vaccine would only be given to people aged between 18-years-old and 59-years-old, because clinical trials of vaccine candidates in the world have yet to target categories outside that age range. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo warned his ministers Monday not to rush the launching of a novel coronavirus vaccine amid public concerns about whether it would be certified halal, or permissible under Islamic law. Furthermore, discordant views have arisen over the pace of the rollout and the use of experimental drugs from constituents such as the Indonesian Doctors Associations, who are reticent to distribute vaccines before the conclusion of clinical trials. In contrast, the Governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil is eager to begin distribution to front line workers as soon as possible.
Travel/Tourism- Limited Business Travel Now Possible
On October 1, 2020, Indonesia issued Reg 26/2020, which relaxes certain criteria for foreign visitors to be able to enter Indonesia: Under Reg 26/2020, visit visa holders and limited stay visa holders are now allowed to enter Indonesia, provided they adhere to strict health measures such as presenting a negative COVID-19 certificate. Foreign visitors must also have sufficient health insurance coverage as well as funding (at least US$10,000) to stay in the country. Visa application is online through the Director General of Immigration. Travel bans continue for foreign tourists. Most countries retain travel warnings due to high COVID levels.
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US Secretary of State Pompeo visits Indonesia this week as part of a multi-nation swing. According State’s press release: “The Secretary will travel to Jakarta to deliver public remarks and meet with his Indonesian counterparts to affirm the two countries’ vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.” However, the visit follows a recent rebuff from Indonesia of US requests to have its spy planes refuel in the country.
Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshide Suga, visited Indonesia and high on the list of topics was re-opening travel, which would assist the completion of major infrastructure projects.
- Omnibus Review Completed: The State Secretariat has completed the review of the Job Creation (Omnibus) Law handed over by the House of Representatives and it is ready to be signed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, according to an official. The final version no longer contains changes to Article 46 of Law No. 22/2001 on oil and natural gas. Meanwhile, The Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) is planning to stage more protests against the recently passed Job Creation Law, or omnibus law, throughout November if President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo decides to sign the law. Chief of Staff to President Jokowi, Moedoko, said that “We ministers received a reprimand from the president- our public communications [surrounding the bill] were terrible.” It is expected the President will soon sign the bill. If not it becomes law anyway on November 13.
- Growth Predictions: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the Indonesian economy will shrink 1.5 percent this year and rebound 6.1 percent next year. Although Southeast Asia’s largest economy is expected to recover next year, the risk of a prolonged coronavirus pandemic could adversely affect the outlook as the IMF urges the government to spend its allocated stimulus budget to boost economic activity and prevent more people from falling into poverty. Goldman Sachs expects Indonesia’s GDP to dip 1.4% this year and to bounce back to 6.3% and 5% growth in 2021/22, respectively.
- Loan Restructuring: According to Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK), the agency will extend loan restructuring incentives for some banks until March 2022 to prevent a spike in bad loans as a result of economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Aviation Stimulus: The Transportation Ministry has agreed to provide the aviation industry with a stimulus package worth Rp 216.5 billion (US$14.75 million) as part of a plan that includes a passenger service charge exemption and a subsidy aimed at cutting costs and boosting demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- US EX-IM Financing: EXIM Bank President and Chairman, Kimberly Reed, signed an MOU with Indonesia on Sunday (10/25) committing up to US$750 million in financing to promote trade and investment between the US and Indonesia. Kimberly A. Reed said the financing committment could include energy, transportation infrastructure, wireless communications technology such as 4G+ or 5G, as well as health care, broadcasting and other options that could be supported with US goods and services.
sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly)