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Mar. 1 - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has asked local governments to intensify testing, tracing, and treatment as part of measures to reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19.

"The target is to reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19. To reduce the rate of transmission, we need to increase testing, tracing, and treatment," Gunadi stated during a working visit to community health centers (Puskesmas) of Bambanglipuro, Bantul regency, Yogyakarta on Monday.

Encouraging Puskesmas to accelerate testing, tracing, and treatment, he said such steps are essential and can be carried out in cooperation with health workers, the national army, and police as well as local communities.

"So we need to identify who is infected. After people who are infected with COVID-19 are found, they must be isolated immediately so that they do not spread (the virus) to other people," he stated.

If people who are infected with COVID-19 can be treated immediately, the potential increase in cases can be curtailed, he stressed.

"If one person is infected, don't let him pass it on to other people because that would be dangerous," he said.

It is important to pursue strategies so that COVID-19 patients recover quickly, he added. Providing vaccines so that people can avoid infection is also an important strategy, he noted.

However, preventing the spread of COVID-19 by increasing testing, tracing, and treatment is the most important step as soon as a COVID-19 case is identified, he said.

"Then, getting used to wearing a mask, maintaining distance, and washing hands is also important to prevent transmission of COVID-19," the minister added.  (Antaranews)




Mar. 1 - The Regional Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD) of Riau Province, in collaboration with other related offices, stationed several thousand personnel in its efforts to avert and tackle forest fires.

Some six thousand personnel constituting BPBD, military, and police officers, were deployed throughout the 12 districts and cities in the province, Head of the Riau BPBD Edward Sanger stated here on Sunday.

After the forest and land fire emergency alert status was determined for Riau Province, joint personnel were immediately readied in every district and city. Some six thousand personnel are deployed as a precautionary measure against forest and land fires in Riau.

The Riau authorities have declared an emergency status for forest fires and established a task force post responsible for coordinating efforts to handle and prevent forest and land fires in the province.

"The task force posts at the district and municipality levels have also been reactivated. This aims to facilitate coordination for all team members," he stated.

Environmental NGO Pantau Gambut had earlier raise doubts over the commitment of private companies in Riau to restore peatlands to reduce forest and land fires.

Coordinator of the Riau Pantau Gambut Network Romes Irawan Putra stated that monitoring conducted during the 2017-2018 period brought to light the fact that the restoration plan in concession areas, both for industrial plantation forests and palm oil plantations, had not been implemented. (Antaranews)




Mar. 1 - The Communication and Informatics Ministry is unswervingly working toward boosting synergy with digital health services providers and related stakeholders following a rise in users of such services to avail consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to push forward telemedicine (digital health services) channels and digital independent consulting services to become an alternative solution for people to get treatments," Secretary-General of the Communication and Informatics Ministry, Mira Tayyiba, stated during the launch event of a telemedicine app held virtually on Monday.

"To this end, the ministry strives to strengthen synergy with telemedicine providers and other related stakeholders," she remarked.

Such a measure is perceived as being crucial on account of the swift growth in digitalization in the health sector.

Citing data of the Central Agency for Statistics, Tayyiba affirmed that the communication and informatics as well as the health services sectors had clocked the highest growth in 2020, at 10.58 percent and 11.6 percent respectively, on a year-on-year basis.

To this end, the ministry’s secretary-general called for ushering in development of the digital health ecosystem in Indonesia to promote equal access to health services for the people, including to expedite vaccination across the nation.

In terms of infrastructure development, the Ministry reportedly ensured that access to internet was available at all health service facilities (fasyankes) in Indonesia through the Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI). "Internet access was provided to 3,126 health facilities at the end of last year. With this figure, internet access in available at 13,011 health facilities across Indonesia," she remarked.

In connection with steps to fortify the broader telemedicine ecosystem, the Ministry, in collaboration with "Good Doctor" and "GrabHealth" platforms, has launched the teledokter and independent health check features on the PeduliLindung app at the end of 2020.

The ministry is optimistic that digital transformation of health services, through such collaborations, would rapidly usher in national and economic recovery. (Antaranews)




Mar. 1 - A lockdown is still imposed on the main market pushing foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia, so the tourism sector had yet to recover from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) stated.

"A decline is still experienced in the number of visits by foreign tourists because the COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the tourism sector and its various supporting sectors. Several countries, which are the main markets for foreign tourists to Indonesia, are still on lockdown," BPS Head Suhariyanto stated during a virtual press conference here on Monday.

Countries, comprising Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Australia, are the main markets for foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia.

Indonesia recorded 141.30 thousand foreign tourist arrivals in January 2021, a drop of 14.90 percent, from the figure in December 2020 and plunged sharply to 89.05 percent as compared to the figure recorded in January 2020 before the pandemic struck Indonesia.

Of the total figure, 68 percent arrived by cars, 44.2 percent boarded boats or ships, while a mere 1.7 percent took flights.

"We can understand the sharp decline in the number of tourists arriving by flights, either compared to the previous month or the previous year," Suhariyanto pointed out.

In the meantime, most foreign tourists to Indonesia during the pandemic were from Timor Leste. Foreign tourist arrivals from Timor Leste in January 2021 had reached 54.2 percent. The figure continues to increase as compared to 49.4 percent recorded in December 2020.  (Antaranews)