Overview-Cases Down in Major Provinces
New case detections continue to drop from their mid-July levels in major provinces leading to the downgrading of social and mobility restrictions. The seven-day moving average (7DMA) for new detections per day fell to 16,205 as of 26 August – a 68 percent fall from the nationwide peak on 18 July. Cases are plummeting by as much as 80% in some provinces (Central Java and East Java). Large provinces with cases on a high plateau, or declining only marginally, include North Sumatra, South Sulawesi and Riau. Yogyakarta and Bali are recording only gradual case declines.
Education Minister Nadiem Makarim may now only require teachers, and not students, to be vaccinated for return to in-person classes. Schools in most locations will operate at 50% capacity.
Jakarta’s vice governor, Riza Patria, recently declared the city a “green zone” and announced the attainment of herd immunity – but experts immediately contradicted him for speaking too soon. In fact, the city remains categorized ‘orange’. (Reformasi Weekly)
· 450,000 healthcare workers (a third of the total) have received a COVID booster shot (Moderna). Some, who had received the Chinese vaccine, Sinovac, had reportedly died during the July Delta variant outbreak.
· Regulators authorized the use of Russia’s Gamalaya Sputnik-V vaccine for emergency use. The two-shot regime has a high reported effectiveness (92%) and doesn’t need to be stored at very cold temperatures. It will be used primarily in the Gotong Royong program administered by KADIN(Indonesian Chamber of Commerce).
Travel-Level 3 Restrictions Relaxed
The government has eased provisions for restaurants, shopping malls and some industries to operate with longer hours and higher capacity as the daily COVID-19 reports point to a falling number of cases. Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan told reporters on Monday that shopping malls were allowed to operate until 9 p.m., an hour longer than under the previous coronavirus curbs. Restaurants inside malls may now accommodate dine-in guests up to 50 percent of their capacity at any given time, up from a quarter of their capacity before.
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.
Indonesia Travel Restriction Details can be found here.
Visit Indonesian Immigration (https://www.imigrasi.go.id) and the Indonesian Embassy (https://kemlu.go.id/washington/en) for updated visa and entry requirements as regulations may change frequently
· Carbon Tax Denounced: At a Parliamentary hearing KADIN’s new Chairman, Arsjad Rasyid, strongly denounced Finance Minister Sri Mulyani’s carbon tax plan, included in a proposed bill on General Taxation. Previously the head of a coal company, Indika, Rasyid presented statements from 18 business associations that express opposition to a carbon tax. Rasyid said: “It would push up production costs and distribution costs – pressuring the purchasing power of the public and threatening inflation.” He also argued that Indonesia is heavily dependent on fossil fuels and that Singapore is the only Southeast nation to have instituted a carbon tax.
· BI Signals Rate Hike: Bank Indonesia (BI) plans to begin reducing liquidity on domestic financial markets next year, in response to signals from the United States Federal Reserve that it is likely to start retracting its “easy money” policy this year. BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said on Monday that the bank planned to raise its benchmark seven-day reverse repo rate (7DRRR) by the end of 2022, among other measures.
Harris in SEA: VP Kamala Harris recently visited Singapore and Vietnam. “We welcome stiff competition, we do not seek conflict, but on issues such as the South China Sea, we are going to speak up,” Harris told a news conference in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. “We are going to speak up when there are actions that Beijing takes that threaten the rules-based international order,” she added.
(sources: International and Indonesia news media, Bali Update (from balidiscovery.com), Reformasi Weekly, US Embassy website)