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Mar. 2 - The West Kalimantan Provincial Police have named eight suspects in seven cases of forest and land fires in the province since early this year.

"We have, so far, handled seven cases of forest and land fires and apprehended eight suspects in the cases," Chief of the Public Relations Section of the West Kalimantan Provincial Police Senior Commissioner Donny Charles Go stated in Pontianak on Tuesday.

"The eight suspects are being processed," he remarked.

Donny noted that three of the eight cases of forest and land fires were found in Mempawah District, while the remaining five cases were detected in other districts.

Fire ravaged up to 14 hectares of forest and land, he stated.

Three of the suspects are from Pontianak City, one from Kubu Raya District, three from Mempawah District, and one from Kayong Utara District, he remarked.

Donny confirmed that the police was probing the likely involvement of corporations in forest and land fires. Satellite has spotted several hotspots in plantation concessions.

Meanwhile, West Kalimantan Governor Sutarmidji spoke of currently holding 57 names of owners of land that caught fire and will sanction them for deliberately setting fire to their land.

"The BPN (the National Land Agency) has sent us the names of owners of the land that caught fire, and their number currently reaches 57," he remarked

The governor also threatened to take legal action against land owners setting fire to their land. "The land will be sealed. It cannot be used for five years, and their owners will be fined," he emphasized. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini has said that her ministry is no longer compensating families of COVID-19 victims due to funds shortage and difficulties in determining cause of death and calculating the payout.    

The compensation funds were no longer available when she took over as the social affairs minister on December 23, 2020, she added.

"Actually, how much is the need for COVID-19 victims? It's inconceivable. It turns out that the amount is huge and there is no more money,” Rismaharini remarked here on Tuesday.

For 2021, the ministry has only allocated a budget of Rp35 billion for compensating natural disaster victims, with Rp15 million earmarked for each victim.

Earlier, the ministry's director of social protection for social disaster victims, Sunarti, had said there has been no budget allocation this year for compensating the families of people dying of COVID-19.

Last year, the ministry had provided Rp15 million as compensation to heirs of each COVID-19 victim.

As of March 3, 2021, or in the year since the first infections emerged in the country, Indonesia has recorded a total of 1,341,314 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1,151,915 recoveries, and 36,325 deaths.

The country’s single-day COVID-19 case count increased by 6,680 on Tuesday. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - The Health Ministry is seeking to boost the strength of officers at the Community Health Center (Puskesmas) and members of the National Security and Protection Agency (Bhabin Kamtibmas) in each region to improve contact tracing efforts.

“A total of 80-100 thousand Puskesmas and Bhabin Kamtibmas (community police) officers will be deployed. We will mobilize them to help trace COVID-19 patients," Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono informed at the COVID-19 Pandemic Year Anniversary webinar entitled ‘Indonesian Innovation for Indonesia Recovers’, here on Tuesday.

Detection of COVID-19 patients through tracing is one of the efforts being undertaken to control the pandemic more intensively in the upstream sector, he pointed out.

By strengthening tracing efforts, the mortality rate in the population is expected to be curtailed as potentially severe cases would be identified more quickly, he added.

"In this case, people will be identified, and will not just have to wait for a diagnosis," he noted.

As part of tracing efforts, officers will be deployed to examine residents who have been in close contact with COVID-19 patients so any transmission can be detected quickly, he explained.

Saksono said the stigma around coronavirus patients in the community is still impeding tracing efforts.

People’s fear of being isolated due to exposure to COVID-19 has led to obstacles in tracing efforts.

However, Dante said he is optimistic that efforts to reduce the mortality rate will bring better results if tracing efforts are optimized and testing accuracy is improved. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - Research and Technology Minister Bambang P. S. Brodjonegoro echoed Indonesia’s unwavering efforts to lessen dependence on the imports of medical devices by domestically producing medical equipment, including ventilators and COVID-19 rapid test kits.

"Our efforts to reduce dependence on the imports of medical devices and drugs have successfully been conducted," Brodjonegoro remarked during a virtual event in Jakarta on Tuesday themed "Indonesian Innovation for Indonesia to Recover, Resurrect and Advance," to mark a year since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

The minister of research and technology, concurrently head of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), highlighted the rise in imports of antibody rapid test kits for COVID-19 screening since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

He remarked that on account of the urgency in conditions at that time, an analysis or assessment might not have been conducted of the quality of the antibody-based COVID-19 rapid test kits imported from these countries.

In connection with the imports for antibody test kits, ventilators, thermometers, and medicinal raw materials for making vitamins, the COVID-19 Research and Innovation Consortium, formed by the Ministry of Research and Technology, in March 2020 seeks to produce research and innovation products for the purpose of import substitution.

During that time, Indonesia had imported the products to meet all its ventilator requirements. This is a matter that must be resolved immediately.

To fulfill domestic requirements and lower dependence on imports, Indonesia, through the Covid-19 Research and Innovation Consortium, has manufactured ventilators and antibody-based rapid test kits, such as RI-GHA, which have been used in the community.

Several ventilators, such as BPPT3S-LEN, Vent-I Origin, Ventilator Transport Covent-20 UI, and Dharcov-23S, have been used in the community.

In fact, ventilators can be purchased directly through the LKPP e-catalog, specifically the BPPT3S-LEN model for Rp25 million, Vent-I CPAP at Rp24 million, and Dharcov-23S at Rp78.5 million.

Despite the fact that there are elements that are urgent since it is necessary to immediately find a way to deal with COVID-19, all research and development processes until the downstream of research and innovation products continue to follow the applicable standards and procedures, including clearing the test from the Health Facility Security Center (BPFK), securing a distribution permit from the Ministry of Health, and obtaining permission from the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM).

"This means we continue to follow scientific principles deemed necessary for us," the BRIN head stated. (Antaranews)