July 21, 2021

Emergency PPKM extended to July 25, restrictions eased if cases decline + Health ministry denies Indonesia is now epicenter of pandemic + Russian family deported from Bali for overstaying visas + more

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Weather & Tides

Today’s Weather for Southern Bali

Today’s Tides

Local Covid Numbers

*Note: There was a slight rise in cases to 881 yesterday, pushing the 7-day average up to 886. 3 returned international travelers and 141 domestic travelers were among them. With 23 fatalities recorded yesterday, July’s total is now at 257.

Click here to see the national numbers infographic and a Regency-by-Regency breakdown of yesterday’s local numbers.

The Big News

"Govt Extends PPKM Darurat to July 25, Announces Easing if Cases Decline" from The Jakarta Post (Metered Paywall): President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Tuesday that the government had seen encouraging signs from the enforcement of PPKM Darurat, which have been in place across Java and Bali since July 3 and were later extended to 15 other regions, claiming that confirmed cases and hospital bed occupancy rates had recently begun to show a downward trend. “We continue to monitor the dynamics in the field and listen to the public’s opinion, whose [livelihoods] are impacted by the PPKM Darurat,” Jokowi said. “If the number of cases continues to decline, the government will ease [the restrictions] on July 26.”  He did not specifically disclose to what extent the PPKM Darurat would be eased. The easing plan includes allowing traditional markets that sell essential goods to operate until 8 p.m. with a 50% visitor capacity limit, while other traditional markets selling nonessential goods would be able to operate until 3 p.m. Small businesses such as laundry services, grocery stores, and street food vendors would be allowed to operate until 9 p.m. with strict health protocols in place. Jokowi said the details of the easing policy will be left to the regional administrations.

Context: Here is the video recording of President Jokowi’s announcement. An epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia said the government should not rely on the number of infections as a gauge in deciding whether to ease the curbs that are meant to contain the outbreak. Despite a lower number of infections this week, the positivity rate remained high, at 33%, on Tuesday. The rate has been above 20% since June 30.

"Ministry of Health Denies Indonesia Becomes World's Epicenter of Covid-19" from CNN Indonesia (Indonesian). The Director of Prevention and Control of Directly Infectious Diseases (P2PML) of the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, denied that Indonesia was the  epicenter of the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the world. Nadia said that so far the World Health Organization (WHO) has never categorized a country as the epicenter of the spread of Covid-19, let alone Indonesia specifically. "So the WHO never said yes, a country became the epicenter of Covid-19," said Nadia. She then said WHO has so far only explained the emergency level of the Covid-19 pandemic condition in a country through situation levels. Each level has a number of different parameters, from additional positive cases, active cases, recovered cases, to cases of citizen death due to Covid-19. She also said that WHO measures the crisis level of an area through two factors, namely the rate of transmission and the capacity of health service readiness. "The guide to adjusting the public health response and social mobility is the measure of the implementation of emergency PPKM in Java-Bali and 15 districts/cities outside Java-Bali. So the term epicenter has never been used by WHO." A number of foreign media outlets highlighted the surge in cases of coronavirus infection in Indonesia in recent weeks. Some, including The New York Times, even mention that currently, Indonesia is the epicenter of the world's Covid-19 transmission.

"Passed Stay Permit Period, Family From Russia Deported by Bali Immigration" from Detik: A total of three foreign nationals (WNA) of Russian nationality, who are part of the same family, were deported by the Immigration Intelligence and Enforcement Section of the Immigration Office Class I TPI Denpasar. They were deported because they had overstayed their residence permit in Bali. They were initially arrested in the Sanur area, Denpasar City on Thursday. "The Russian citizens have violated Article 78 Paragraph 3 of Law Number 6 of 2011 concerning Immigration," said Head of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights (Kanwil Kemenkumham) Bali Jamaruli Manihuruk. Jamaruli said that foreigners holding residence permits whose validity period has expired and who are still in Indonesia for more than 60 days will be subject to immigration administrative measures in the form of deportation and deterrence. Jamaruli did not specify when the three foreigners' stay permits ended.

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Other Headlines

"List of Government Isolation Places in Bali" from Tribun Bali (Indonesian): The Provincial Government (Pemprov) of Bali has decided to prohibit positive Covid-19 patients in the category of asymptomatic (OTG) and mild symptoms (GR) to self-isolate at home. Those who fall into the OTG-GR category will be isolated for free in places provided by the Provincial, Regency/City Governments scattered throughout Bali. The head of the Bali Provincial Health Office, Ketut Suarjaya, said that COVID-19 OTG-GR patients who will be self-isolating in the provided place must report to the local village Covid-19 Task Force. After that, the Village Task Force will forward the information to the Regency/City Covid-19 Task Force for pickup. Read on for a detailed list of quarantine places for COVID-19 OTG-GR patients in Bali, as of Tuesday, July 20.

Vaccination Update

"Majority of Indonesians Reject Self-paid Vaccination: LSI" from The Jakarta Post: A recent poll by the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) has found that the government’s recently canceled plan to allow self-funded inoculation did not enjoy widespread enthusiasm. The survey was conducted from June 20 to 25, before the government announced that it had scrapped the self-paid plan last week following public outcry. LSI interviewed 1,200 respondents living throughout the country by telephone for the survey. 76% of the respondents said they would not be willing to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine, while 23% said they would. LSI executive director Djayadi Hanan said that the data corresponded to the strong response from the public prior to the cancellation of the plan. More than 80% of the respondents said they had not received a first COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 63.65% of that group said they were willing to be inoculated. Some 36% of the unvaccinated respondents said they would refuse to be inoculated, citing potential side effects from the vaccines as their biggest concern. “Our current biggest task is to persuade those who are hesitant about the vaccine, whether they are refusing but unsure or accepting but unsure, so that they can be confident about the vaccine” Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology head Amin Soebandrio said.


Health Protocols (Prokes) & Health Services

"Health Workers at Klungkung Hospital Being Treated for Covid-19, from Lab Workers to Doctors" from Bali Post (Indonesian): The number of Covid-19 patients being treated at Klungkung Hospital continues to increase. Up until Tuesday, 64 patients were being treated, and of these eight are health workers. Director of Klungkung Hospital, Dr. I Nyoman Kesuma, said the majority had moderate symptoms, while five have severe symptoms, and are currently being treated in the ICU. The health workers confirmed positive are nurses, doctors, and laboratory staff. "The health workers are still being treated in the VIP room," he said. Currently, his staff are starting to prepare for the addition of isolation rooms, including one in the basement area of the hospital.


Economy & Infrastructure

"Covid Patients with Severe Symptoms Soaring, Hospitals in Buleleng Begin to Be Overwhelmed" from Radar Bali (Indonesian): The hospital occupancy rate in Buleleng has increased sharply. Currently the hospital occupancy rate is approaching 86%. The bed capacity for Covid-19 patients in Buleleng is 74 beds, with a total of 54 places in ordinary isolation rooms, while the other 20 are ICU rooms for Covid-19 patients. There were even 18 people who had to queue at the Emergency Room (IGD). "It was a full afternoon. In fact, there were two people who had to be cared for outside," said an officer at Buleleng Hospital. Deputy Director of Medical Services at Buleleng Hospital, Dr. I Ketut Gede Agus Budi Wirawan, did not deny this. “Indeed, people are still waiting in line at the ER. Because the room is full," he said. The hospital management is currently taking mitigation measures to increase the bed capacity. The capacity which was originally only 74 beds, has now become 116. Most urgent is the addition of ICU bed capacity.

"We Need Medical Radio in Bali, Fajar: We Rely on WA Groups, Obviously It Will Be Weak in Terms of Speed" from Tribun Bali (Indonesian): Chair of the Association of Private Hospitals in the Bali Region, Dr. IBG Fajar Manuaba, hopes that in a crisis situation communication is good, so there is a need for medical radio for the Province of Bali. According to him, in February 2020, before the Covid-19 outbreak, his association asked for a medical radio to be prepared, where the Provincial Health Service was the host, and hospitals in Bali used walky-talkies. This type of communication can be fast, as long as the Province prepares a repeater. "Currently we rely on the WA (WhatsApp) group. It is not impossible that there will be another pandemic in the future. So medical radio needs to be available. This situation is also called war, so fast communication is the main thing. It's time for us to build a liquid oxygen production facility in Bali. There are 71 hospitals in Bali. At the same time, we need to build a medical waste treatment plant. Cases are increasing, but waste is sent to West Java," he said.

"Muslims Across Indonesia Mark Grim Eid al-Adha as Covid Crisis Deepens" from The Guardian: Muslims across Indonesia marked a grim Eid al-Adha festival for a second year on Tuesday as the country struggles to cope with a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases. Every year on the Eid al-Adha holiday, Muslims in Indonesia usually gather at their local mosque for mass prayers, and hold family gatherings to enjoy food together. People gather in front of mosques to watch as goats and cattle, donated by devotees, are killed as sacrificial animals. The meat is then distributed to the poor to celebrate the Islamic day of sacrifice. However, on Tuesday, the Eid al-Adha celebrations in Jakarta were quieter than ever, as many families in the capital decided to stay at home. Most are praying inside their houses, and greeting their relatives and families by calling them on the phone. Last year, the government allowed Eid al-Adha prayers to go ahead in regions that did not record many Covid cases. However, this year, after the imposition of emergency public activity restrictions, the religious affairs ministry banned mass prayers in public places in regions classified as orange zones, where there is a medium risk of infection, and red zones, areas with a very high risk of infection.

"Indonesia’s Makassar Unveils Coronavirus Isolation Facility Aboard Passenger Ship Umsini" from South China Morning Post: In the Indonesian city of Makassar in South Sulawesi province, there is a hive of activity on board a passenger and cargo ship that is being converted into a floating isolation facility for patients who test positive for Covid-19. Ship management officer Ramidi, who like many Indonesians only uses one name, sits in his office on the fifth deck of the Umsini, where he usually takes care of crew applying for leave or changing shifts. “In the past, every time we finished a voyage, the entire crew would take a Covid-19 test. If there were indications that someone was infected, they would be removed from the ship and treated on land,” the 51-year-old said. “Now, it’s the other way round. The people who test positive for the virus will board the ship. But this is a national disaster, so we have to help each other out and do what we can.” Isolating patients aboard the Umsini is the brainchild of the Makassar city government, and is part of a series of new measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus that has ravaged Indonesia in recent weeks.

Of Interest

How You Can Help

In response to the collapse of the tourism sector in Bali and the resulting economic crisis, dozens of individuals and organizations have sprung into action, raising funds and distributing badly needed food and everyday essentials to the innumerable families who have suddenly found themselves without any source of income. We've been making an effort to document and raise awareness of these efforts. We will add information on projects in this space as we are able to confirm them. If you'd like to see a list of the efforts that we've featured so far and contribute to them with either time or money, visit our complete list here. You can also see a list of projects that have registered themselves with Bali Solidarity. If you know of an effort and would like to have them listed, please send their information to TheBaliBeat@outlanders.global .

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