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21
September

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Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, discussed issues pertaining to Afghanistan and Myanmar during a bilateral meeting.

The meeting was conducted on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations' General Assembly (UNGA76) in New York, the United States, on Sunday.

In its written statement on Tuesday, Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that the two ministers agreed on the importance of a collaborative international community in order to ensure conducive development in Afghanistan for world peace.

Cavusoglu supports Indonesia's message and aspirations conveyed by Marsudi in connection with the Taliban on the importance of an inclusive government, assurance that Afghanistan will not be used as a terrorist breeding and training ground, and respect for woman's rights.

Meanwhile, regarding the issue of Myanmar, Cavusoglu expressed gratitude and support for Indonesia's active role in resolving the crisis in Myanmar.

"The worsening humanitarian crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic has become the main highlight for the two ministers. Humanitarian aid provision should be encouraged and increased in order to save Myanmar's citizens," Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

During the meeting, both ministers also discussed bilateral relations between the two countries that had grown stronger, especially in terms of economic cooperation.

The trade value between both nations during the January-July 2021 period was recorded at around US$1.115 million, or a 47.8-percent increase, as compared to the corresponding period in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the completion of negotiation pertaining to the Indonesia-Turkey Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IT-CEPA) was also discussed.

The two ministers believe that the agreement will become an important instrument for the two countries' trade value to reach US$10 billion. (Antaranews)

21
September

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Head of the Jakarta health service, Widyastuti, confirmed that the city government will gradually re-open non-COVID-19 medical services at several Regional General Hospitals (RSUDs) currently functioning as COVID-19 referral hospitals.

"We are proceeding with the transition in stages, in line with the current condition of the COVID-19 pandemic," Widyastuti noted at the Jakarta City Hall on Monday.

Widyastuti explained that the transition process had commenced, and now, her team had begun to conduct an assessment at the RSUDs, which earlier focused on treating COVID-19 patients.

"Our team had gone to the hospital, and we are gradually returning to start non-COVID-19 services at several hospitals," she stated.

This step was taken due to several pending treatments for non-COVID-19 patients since services at hospitals were focusing on healing COVID-19.

"Non-COVID-19 patients can start undergoing treatments that were once delayed due to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases at referral hospitals," she noted.

However, Widyastuti was unable to mention the number and names of hospitals that will re-open for non-COVID-19 services. She remarked that private hospitals and hospitals under the central government's management would also be opened for non-COVID-19 treatment.

"We will also coordinate with the central hospital and also with private hospital associations in Jakarta," she noted.

Based on data recorded on September 19, the current situation of COVID-19 in Jakarta has improved, with 91 new cases, thereby bringing the total to 856,252 confirmed positive cases.

Meanwhile, the number of active cases in Jakarta decreased by 321, bringing the number of active cases, or people still being treated or isolated to 2,558.

Of the total number of positive cases, some 840,212 people were declared cured, up by 409, with a recovery rate of 98.1 percent, while the number of people succumbing to the disease totaled 13,482, an increase of three, with a death rate at 1.6 percent.

The positivity rate, or the percentage of positive cases, during the last week in Jakarta was recorded at 1.1 percent, lower than the WHO limit of five percent to be categorized as safe areas. (Antaranews)

21
September

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Indonesia's positivity rate, which has dipped below 2 percent, indicates good COVID-19 handling in the country, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment and PPKM coordinator for Java-Bali, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, has said.

The positivity rate is the ratio between the number of positive cases of COVID-19 and the number of tests carried out. The COVID-19 Handling Task Force has pegged the positivity rate in Indonesia as of Monday (September 20) at 1.28 percent.

"Currently, Indonesia's positivity rate is below 2 percent. This indicates that COVID-19 handling has been running well and following the standards of the WHO," Pandjaitan said.

According to the minister, during the implementation of public activity restrictions (PPKM), despite the drop in cases, testing continued to be boosted so that the positivity rate could be lowered to below the WHO standard of 5 percent.

In addition, the number of tracing efforts also continued to be increased day by day, he said. Currently, the proportion of districts and cities in Java-Bali with tracing levels below 5 is only 36 percent of the total, he informed.

"In the future, testing, tracing, combined with centralized isolation, will be an important part to identify early on the potential of COVID-19 transmission and also the use of PeduliLindungi app, which is getting better, more equipped, more perfected," Pandjaitan said.

The minister said he expects that Indonesia will be able to control the pandemic by implementing the 3Ts, 3Ms, using the PeduliLindungi app, and carrying out massive vaccinations.

Reflecting on the experiences of other countries, vaccination is a necessary condition in the pandemic-to-endemic transition, he added.

However, he noted, vaccinations in several districts and cities need to be intensified further, especially among older adults since many of the COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in this group, to help the nation reach the 70-percent first dose vaccination target. (Antaranews)

21
September

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Indonesia will continue to explore the potential for economic cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean through the Indonesia-Latin America and Caribbean Business Forum (INA-LAC Business Forum), a Foreign Ministry official said.

The forum, which will be held for the third time in October 2021, aims to improve economic relations in the midst of a dynamic global situation, including the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, director general of America and Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I Gede Ngurah Swajaya, said at a virtual press conference on Monday.

"As a country with the highest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the potential to take advantage of the economy in Latin America and the Caribbean," Swajaya added.

The potential of the Latin America region, whose gross domestic product (GDP) has reached US$4.8 trillion (about Rp68,397 trillion), and Indonesia, whose GDP has been recorded at more than US$1 trillion (about Rp14,251 trillion), must be utilized optimally through various proactive economic diplomacy initiatives, he said.

"There is a challenge geographically, but from the trade value recorded so far, even in the midst of COVID-19, we see an increase in Indonesia's exports," he added.

In 2020, total trade between Indonesia with Latin America and the Caribbean region increased to US$8.25 billion (around Rp117.6 trillion) from US$ 7.75 billion (around Rp110.4 trillion) in 2019, Swajaya informed.

In the first half of 2021, the total trade between Indonesia and the region reached US$4.91 billion (almost Rp70 trillion), an increase of 13.83 percent from the same period the previous year, he said.

The three countries recorded to have the highest value trade with Indonesia are Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, he disclosed.

In 2020, the value of Indonesia's exports to Latin America and the Caribbean stood at US$3.16 billion (around Rp45 trillion), while imports were pegged at US$5.1 billion (around Rp72.7 trillion), Swajaya said.

Indonesia's main exports to Latin America and the Caribbean are vegetable oils, vehicles, electronics, rubber, and footwear. Meanwhile, its main imports are animal feed, cereals, sugar, cotton, and chocolate.

As the pandemic is still limiting movement across countries, the INA-LAC 2021 will be held jointly through face-to-face and virtual meetings, Swajaya said.

However, the number of participants will actually increase compared to the face-to-face implementation, he added.

In 2019, INA-LAC was attended by 120 participants from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries and 150 participants from Indonesia, with total business agreements reaching US$33.12 million (around Rp463.68 billion).

In 2020, a total of 533 participants consisting of 490 virtual participants and 63 physical participants, took part in the business forum. INA-LAC 2020 recorded total business deals of US$85.38 million (around Rp. 1.2 trillion).

This year, around 350 Indonesian companies and 150 Latin American and Caribbean companies have registered for INA-LAC 2021, Swajaya said.

At the forum, participants will be able to interact with each other via the ina-access.com digital platform, which will be specially set up for virtual trade, investment, and tourism exhibitions, he added.

“INA-LAC is one of our flagship events. Hopefully, through this activity, we can show that the Indonesian government's economic diplomacy is still being carried out proactively," said Swajaya.  (Antaranews)

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