Indonesia Corona Virus Update #31 September 28, 2020
Cumulative number of reported cases: 278,722 (as of September 28 )
Rupiah to US$14,959
Jakarta Stock Exchange Index: 4906
Nationwide active-case growth slowed somewhat, week-on-week but daily detections nonetheless breached 4,000 during the week. Active cases are new cases net of recoveries and fatalities. In Jakarta, active case growth fell to two percent week-on-week and daily detections leveled off, but they are on a high plane and the governor extended Social Restrictions (PSBB) through 10 October. Nationwide growth is emanating from cases in West Java and provinces outside of Java . After having jumped last week, testing remained flat this week and the positivity rate declined to 14 percent. A study of infection sources in West Java identified travel as a main driver, followed by families, hospitals, offices and places of worship. (source: Reformasi Weekly)
A prominent member of the Government’s Corona Virus Task Force and head of its health division, Dr. Akmal Taher, has resigned and will concentrate his efforts on contact tracing and testing. His recent comments indicate he may have been dissatisfied with the government’s response to date, especially low testing and tracing levels.
Indonesia’s Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) is set to visit the facility of China’s pharmaceutical company Sinovac in Beijing to assure the quality of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine currently being developed by the latter, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi revealed in a teleconference Monday (9/28) Indonesian healthcare experts appearing on an online forum, including Dr. Taher cautioned against expecting early vaccine availability, “The danger is that there are people who are misreading it,” he said, suggesting that it could result in complacency over adhering to health protocols.
The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartono, estimates that Indonesia may have lost nearly 90% of much-needed foreign exchange in tourism spending because of the continuing pandemic.
- Omnibus Jobs Bill: An agreement in Parliamentary committee over the severance provisions of the proposed bill may pave the way for its passage in October. According to Reuters reporting lawmakers approved severance benefits at 23 times monthly wages from the current 32 with the government funding the shortfall. The original proposal was for a multiple of 19. Unemployed workers would receive state insurance and skills training. It is hoped the bill will attract sorely needed manufacturing investment.
- Recession: According to Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia is set to enter a recession in Q3 2020. The Finance Ministry’s latest financial projections show a negative growth rate of between -1.7% and -0.6%. The recession will be the country’s first since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998.
- BI: Indonesia’s central bank (BI) governor Perry Warjiyo on Monday urged parliament to put regulatory reform off until next year while the country deals with the impact of the pandemic. BI has resorted to unconventional policies to weather the pandemic’s fallout, such as pledging to purchase nearly 400 trillion rupiah ($27 billion) of government bonds while relinquishing interest payments, and cutting interest rates four times.
- Social Security Payments: Indonesia issued Government Regulation 49 of 2020 (GR 49/2020) on August 31, 2020, which provides reductions in and postponement of the social security payments made by businesses: To be eligible for a postponement in the premium payments, businesses will need to prove the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced sales/profit by at least 30 percent since February 2020. These incentives are only applicable between August 2020 to January 2021.
- Pharma Incentive: The government is preparing up to 4,000 hectares of land in Central Java province in the Batang Industrial Park to accommodate US companies, particularly those in the pharmaceutical sector. Once set up in this zone, US companies will be offered generous tax incentives.
- Riau Toll Road: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo inaugurated the Pekanbaru-Dumai section of the trans-Sumatera toll road through a virtual ceremony carried out from the Bogor Palace in Bogor, West Java, on Tuesday. The toll road is 79 miles long. The Pekanbaru-Dumai highway includes five tunnels specifically designed to allow wildlife to cross as the fourth section is located near the Balai Raja and Siak Kecil wildlife conservation areas, home to endemic Sumatran elephant