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Mar. 2 - The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) Executive Board has appealed to the government to work swiftly to increase the synergy of the National Health System's regulations, precisely a year since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country.

"First, strengthening the synergy of regulations of a national health system that is adaptive to the pandemic," Chairman of the PB-IDI Mitigation Team, concurrently the elected chairman of PB-IDI for the 2021-2024 period, Dr. Adib Khumaidi, remarked when contacted by ANTARA in Jakarta, Monday.

Khumaidi highlighted that the government can increase synergy through the community health center (Puskesmas) in order to improve promotive and preventive functions as well as health services in areas of major concern.

"The most important aspect is the testing and tracing abilities. We have sufficient strength or capital in that capability. It is the Puskesmas," he stated.

Khumaidi expounded that the second strategy aimed at preparing the National Health System (SKN) by not only clustering hospitals focused on handling COVID-19 but also by paying attention to handling non-COVID-19 patients.

"Yesterday it was replicated for the COVID-19 referral hospital. If we talk about the COVID-19 referral hospital, it means that it has been escalated to become a COVID-19 hospital. In fact, health problems are not only related to COVID-19. This is redesigning the hospital, with zoning, so that Non-COVID-19 services can still be conducted, but there is no likelihood of contracting COVID-19 later," he explained.

For the third strategy, Khumaidi noted that the government should strengthen the technology and health industries.

"This can be conducted by building the readiness of industrial infrastructure, be it drugs and medical devices, including vaccines. This is an effort that must be made," he stated.

According to Khumaidi, the fourth strategy pertains to boosting public awareness and compliance by empowering informal organizations.

"Among them are empowering informal organizations at the community level, especially neighborhood and community units (RT/RW) as the frontline. The availability of literacy and information sources about COVID-19 should then be increased," Khumaidi noted while highlighting the readiness of neighborhood and community units (RT/RW) to thwart the transmission of COVID-19. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - Lawmakers throughout Southeast Asia on Tuesday called upon the Myanmar military to promptly stop their campaign of arrests, unconditionally release all current detainees, and abstain from using violent means in handling peaceful protesters.

"The scale of arrests since the coup gives you a clear indication of where the military junta is taking the country: a place with no space for critics or any political opposition to exist," Mu Sochua, a board member of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and former Cambodian Member of Parliament (MP), noted in a statement received in Jakarta, Tuesday.

"All regional and international actors must get this clear: there can be no way out of the current situation without all those arbitrarily arrested being released.” Mu Sochua affirmed.

According to rights organization Assistance for Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), in merely four weeks, at least 913 individuals, including politicians, members of the previous Union Election Commission (UEC), civil servants, human rights activists, and students, were arrested and kept in detention or have outstanding arrest warrants against them.

The AAPP also estimates that some 30 individuals lost their lives in the violent crackdown by Myanmar’s security forces on peaceful protesters.

Of those arrested and detained, at least 59 are elected representatives of the Union and local parliaments comprising the state counsellor, president and vice president, speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament, chief ministers, and Union and regional-level MPs.

Most are placed in detention at unknown locations, without charge or access to their lawyers. Some are detained in military barracks, such as tactical command centers.

"Most of those detained have not been charged and have neither seen a lawyer nor their families in about a month. Those people are at risk. Being out of sight is where torture and ill-treatment can happen, and we all know this is not foreign to Myanmar’s jails," Mu Sochua cautioned.

In the few cases where they have been charged, the laws used against the MPs include: Section 505(b) of the Penal Code (publication or sharing of statements with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public), Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law (causing a disaster through any negligent or willful act), Section 8 of the Export and Import Law (exporting or importing prohibited goods), and Section 67 of the Telecommunications Law (for possessing or using telecommunication equipment that requires a license).

Furthermore, the junta has been threatening and harassing members of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH).

The Committee members took an oath days after the coup and have vowed to continue to fulfill their mandate as representatives of the people.

On February 26, the new military-appointed UEC declared that it is illegal to form committees representing parliaments and threatened to take legal action against those doing so.

At least 21 elected representatives, including 17 members of the CRPH, are currently in hiding after finding out about arrest warrants being issued against them under Section 505(a) or (b) of the Penal Code and/or the Natural Disaster Management Law.

The APHR alleges that by imprisoning and harassing elected representatives, who are purely exercising the mandate of the public, the military is trying to muffle the people’s voices and rob them of their choices.

"We call on all parliamentarians worldwide to act in solidarity with Myanmar and use their position within and outside the parliament to call for all those arbitrarily detained to be immediately released and to work for the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. Let us make sure that our colleagues sit in parliament and not in jail," Mu Sochua emphasized. (Antaranews)




Mar. 2 - A total of 1,720,523 Indonesians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or an increase of 28,799 people as of March 1, 2021, with the provision of the first dose of vaccine.

Based on data from the COVID-19 Handling Task Force received in Jakarta, Monday, of the 1,720,523 people, a total of 1,002,218 people have been given the second dose of vaccine, or an increase of 3,779 people as of March 1, 2021.

The Indonesian government has determined that as many as 181,554,465 of the total population of Indonesia will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the government is targeting as many as 1,468,764 health workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Apart from health workers, the government has also started giving vaccines to other groups including religious leaders, public service officials, journalists, street vendors, and traders in traditional markets.

The Indonesian government is targeting 70 percent of Indonesia's population to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to create herd immunity in the country.

Immunity of individuals and groups is important in order to provide protection from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 and to reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

In the current vaccine administration, one person needs two doses of vaccine, so if the target of vaccination is nearly 181.6 million Indonesians, then around 363 million vaccine shots are needed. (Antaranews)




Mar. 1 - Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno unveiled a plan to reopen Bali for tourists through the Free COVID Corridor Program.

"We have prepared the Free COVID Corridor for Bali and several other tourist destinations," the minister noted during an online dialog themed "Vaccination Comes, Tourism Shines" on Monday.

The program, which is a proposal from tourism and creative economy agents in Bali, has been often being deliberated by the local government, he stated.

The one-time Jakarta vice governor spoke of having repetitively streamlined the plan.

Uno called on the government to exercise caution to examine the possibility of reopening green zones, areas, with the lowest risk of COVID-19 transmission, in the world-renowned tourist island for tourists, including foreign travelers.

The plan for the designation of green zones in Bali include Nusa Dua and Ubud and can be expanded to cover Nusa Penida and several other areas to align with the local government's directives, he stated.

"We want to get more ready in line with the downward trend of COVID-19 cases, particularly in Bali. We are mulling over reopening green zones for tourists from several countries, such as China, Singapore, and other countries," he remarked.

The minister spoke of having invited several ambassadors to personally bear witness to the government's preparedness to open tourist destinations in Bali and other regions.

However, Uno noted that the plan to reopen the tourist destinations hinged largely on the endeavors to handle the COVID-19 pandemic in Bali.

"This returns to us. Hopefully, (the caseload) would not be triple digit but double digit. As I see, (COVID-19 handling) in Bali has made quite significant progress in the seven days," he remarked.

Uno is optimistic that the government would keep a close watch on the decline in the COVID-19 caseload to begin implementing the Free COVID Corridor Program.

"In mid-month, we are optimistic of being able to coordinate with Mrs. foreign minister, Mr law and human rights minister, the health minister, the chief of COVID-19 response task force, and the governor to finalize (the plan for) the Free COVID Corridor Program and ensure that the trial can be realized. If the result is positive, then we can go ahead with it and increase their number," he explained. (Antaranews)