Corona Virus Update #81 September 20, 2021
Cumulative number of reported cases: 4,185,144 (as of September 20)
- Deaths: 140,138
- Recovered: 3,976,064
- Fatality rate: 3.3%
Rupiah to US: 14,251
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 6076
Reserves (US$ Billions): $144.784 (August 31)
Overview- Effective Rate of Transmission <1
All signs indicate that COVID-19 is currently retreating in Indonesia. An internationally recognized index based on data collected at Johns Hopkins has Indonesia’s effective rate of transmission at .59. (An index of 1=steady state, <1=retreating, >1=advancing. By comparison, the US is at 1.09. The index is based on epidemiological theory.
Cases nationally continue to go down. The 7-day moving average of new case detections fell below 4,000 for the first time since May 2021. Cases, which had plateaued in Central Java, are now falling. “Currently, in Java-Bali, there are no more districts or cities that are at Level 4. All of them are at Level 3 or 2 of (PPKM),” Coordinating Maritime Minster Luhut Pandjaitan told a press conference today.
Meanwhile there is good news on vaccinations:
· Daily vaccination rates are now averaging 1.3 million
· 20% of Indonesians are fully vaccinated, 36% have one shot
· 2.6 million does of Pfizer’s vaccine arrive this week via the Covax facility. Combined with 8 million Moderna doses that arrived last month the total number of US doses shared with Indonesia is 12.7 million. China recently shipped another 5 million doses of its Sinovac vaccine, bringing its total shipped to date to 53.6 million.
· Other positive signs included the national hospital bed occupancy rate falling below 15%, while the positivity rate, or the proportion of people tested who are positive, was at less than 5%, he said.
Bali scheduled to re-open in October. Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told reporters Friday that the Government is working to re-open parts of Bali in October as a precursor to a more wide-scale opening. South Korea, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand, are among countries the government is considering accepting foreign nationals from first, given the low virus spread in those nations, he said. Details regarding quarantining, vaccinations and PCR tests have not been released. Health Minister Budi Sadikin told Reuters Indonesia plans to start opening its borders to foreigners in November once 70% of its target population have received at least one vaccine shot.
The government, in the past, has released forwarding-looking statements only to back away from them later.
Borders remained closed to foreign business and tourist travel. Only foreign nationals who are diplomats, holders of temporary or permanent resident cards, cabin crews and those engaged in medical and humanitarian purposes can currently enter Indonesia. US State Department lists Indonesia as Level 4, Do Not Travel.
The government extended the enforcement period of the emergency state of public mobility restrictions, known as the PPKM Level 2-4, throughout Java and Bali until October 4, 2021.
Indonesia Travel Restriction Details can be found here.
· August Record Trade Surplus: At US$4.74 billion, the trade surplus in August was the highest ever recorded by Statistics Indonesia (BPS), which logs the data since 1993. It is also more than twice as high as a year earlier, when imports plunged.
· Cigarette Taxes Will Rise: Finance Minister Sri Mulyani announced that excise taxes will rise an average of 12.5% next year as a way to curb smoking. However, the taxes apply to machine produced cigarettes (white or flavored) and not to hand rolled.
· Government Guilty of Air Pollution: The Central Jakarta District Court found in favor of a 2018 class action suit filed by 32 Jakarta residents who convinced the court that they had been denied their right to a clean environment because of air pollution. The suit did not seek monetary damages. The 5 defendants are: President Jokowi, Minister of the Environment, Home Affairs, Health Minister, and Jakarta Governor. The court order included separate tasks for each to improve air quality and was a breakthrough cases that had been postponed 5 times.
US-Australia-UK Defense Pact: Indonesia’s Foreign Minister reacted with concern to the recent announcement that Australia will acquire nuclear powered submarines and cruise missiles from the US. In a statement published on its website on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said Indonesia had cautiously taken note of Australia’s decision to acquire the submarines and stressed the importance of the country’s commitment to continue meeting its nuclear nonproliferation obligations. “Indonesia is deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region,” the ministry said. The move by Australia may have come without much foreshadowing with ASEAN, underlining the perception that Canberra may take the regional compact for granted. The pact seeks to achieve a greater strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific region.
(sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly, US Embassy website)