South-west

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One for the road

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It’s a Shaw thing as CBRE bolsters Manchester office

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Indonesian Basketball League season put on hold amid COVID-19 fears

first_imgThe Indonesian Basketball League (IBL) has suspended the ongoing 2020 season following the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.“Our decision was not just based on our concerns over players and officials’ wellbeing, but also the fans and everyone involved in the 2020 IBL,” the league organizers said in a statement on Friday.The league said it would continue cooperating with the national authorities to discuss when to resume the 2020 season.“We will resume the competition as soon as we are sure that conditions are safe for all,” league organizers added.The organizers said full refunds would be provided for tickets already purchased and that they would keep fans updated on the future of the 2020 season via iblindonesia.com. Topics :last_img

Social distancing ‘more effective’ to curb COVID-19 spread, task force says amid calls for lockdown

first_imgDespite mounting calls for Indonesia to impose partial lockdowns on virus-plagued areas, the government has maintained that such a policy is not yet on the horizon as it deems social distancing to be more effective to stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the country.“Imposing a lockdown will cause economic losses and therefore we still think that social distancing is more effective to halt the spread of the virus,” Wiku Adisasmito, an expert with the government-formed COVID-19 task force, told journalists on Wednesday.A lockdown, he said, would hurt the economy and particularly affected residents whose lives depended on making hourly wages, as they would not be able to go to work and subsequently could not make ends meet.It would also terminate economic activities, including small businesses and household businesses, as restrictions on movements meant all residents would be forced to stay home during the lockdown period, he said.Read also: COVID-19: Indonesia records highest death toll in Southeast Asia at 19“Due to its impact on the economy, we will not go further to impose the policy,” he added.Pressure is currently mounting for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to impose partial lockdowns on regions deemed to be hot zones for COVID-19 and follow in the footsteps of the country’s neighbors — Malaysia and the Philippines — and several European countries by taking the drastic measure to stem the transmission of the disease.A group of scientists from the Indonesian Young Scientists Forum has called on the Jokowi administration to impose a partial lockdown on certain areas to prevent sustained community transmission before the Idul Fitri exodus, during which millions of Muslims travel to their hometowns to celebrate the religious festivity. However, Wiku emphasized that the government so far maintained that social distancing would be enough to restrain the virus, which is known to spread quickly when an infected person is in close proximity to other people.“We urge the public to keep their distance from others: no handshaking, wash hands regularly, avoid crowds and always use masks in crowded places,” he said. (glh)Topics :last_img read more

More than 200 Indonesians abroad test positive for coronavirus, five dead

first_imgAt least 204 Indonesian citizens abroad have now been infected by the highly contagious novel coronavirus, the Foreign Ministry has said, with five cases that have resulted in fatalities.International cruise liners have had the highest number of cases, with 49 crew members testing positive so far, four of whom were working aboard the virus-hit Costa Luminosa cruise ship, the Foreign Ministry announced on its official Twitter account @Kemlu_RI on Friday.The Italian cruise ship is now in quarantine at the country’s port of Savona. Foreign Ministry director for citizen protection Judha Nugraha said on Thursday that the number excluded the nine crew members who were infected aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, all of whom have recovered.At least 39 Indonesian nationals have tested positive for COVID-19 in locked-down Malaysia, three of whom have recovered.In addition, 36 have contracted the virus in neighboring Singapore, five of whom have recovered, but one of the citizens still needs special treatment.Fourteen citizens have tested positive in India. Ten of them have recovered, and four others are still in treatment. Eleven citizens living in Spain – the second hardest-hit country in Europe, after Italy – have tested positive for COVID-19, two of whom have recovered, the ministry tweeted on Friday.#SahabatKemlu, berikut update Perkembangan COVID-19 di Dunia dan Pelindungan WNI per 03/04 pukul 11.30 WIB.#IniDiplomasi #NegaraMelindungi pic.twitter.com/TAVB6gdhxp— MoFA Indonesia (@Kemlu_RI) April 3, 2020In Saudi Arabia, at least six Indonesians have tested positive. Seven others have tested positive in Vatican City.Germany and Brunei Darussalam each recorded four Indonesian citizens with COVID-19.Three Indonesians cases each have been found in Taiwan, Macau and the Netherlands, while two each have been found in Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Cambodia, Qatar and the United States.The Philippines, the United Kingdom, Oman, South Korea, Ireland and Belgium have one Indonesian citizen with COVID-19 each.According to the ministry, five Indonesian nationals living abroad – two in Singapore, one in the UK and two others in Malaysia – had died of COVID-19 as of Friday. Of the 204 confirmed cases abroad, 31 Indonesians have recovered from the disease.As of Friday, the World Health Organization had recorded 900,306 cases worldwide – in 205 countries and territories – with the most cases found in the US, Italy, Spain, China and Germany.Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said on Friday that there was no one-size-fits-all policy to ensure the wellbeing of Indonesians abroad as each country was in a different situation.He called on Indonesians abroad to obey the rules of the countries they were in.“Our missions abroad have been constantly communicating with the affected communities to ensure they are always in good health,” Faizasyah said. Topics :last_img read more

Avoiding quarantine will inflict greater economic harm, says survey

first_imgEconomists in the survey agreed that the government should take more comprehensive measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and invest more in the healthcare system, recognizing that the economy would take a significant hit in the short-term.“Public health intervention such as large-scale social distancing, health quarantine and regional quarantine need to be a policy priority for the government to consider,” the scholars wrote in the survey findings. “The majority of the economists view a social safety net as the most-needed policy if the government implements large-scale social restrictions or regional quarantine.”Few vehicles are seen on the usually busy Sudirman street as the government called on people to stay home amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Jakarta on March 31, 2020. – Indonesian leader Joko Widodo declared a state of emergency March 31 as coronavirus deaths in the world’s fourth most populous country jumped again, but he resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown. (AFP/Adek Berry)The survey involved economists from various backgrounds including researchers, professors and state officials.The survey’s findings were in line with a new study titled “Pandemics depress the economy, public health interventions do not: Evidence from the 1918 flu”, which found that, while pandemics depress economies, aggressive public health interventions could bounce back the economies faster.“We find that cities that intervened earlier and more aggressively do not perform worse and, if anything, grow faster after the pandemic is over. Our findings thus indicate that NPIs not only lower mortality; they also mitigate the adverse economic consequences of a pandemic,” the study concludes, referring to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as physical distancing.Timely and aggressive NPIs can limit the most disruptive economic effects while also contributing to “flattening the economic curve” beyond more traditional economic policy interventions, according to the study.Read also: Moody’s lauds Indonesia’s economic response but virus containment efforts lag“Altogether, our findings suggest that pandemics can have substantial economic costs, and NPIs can have economic merits, beyond lowering mortality,” reads the study, conducted by US Fed economists Sergio Correia and Stephan Luck and Massachusetts Institute of Technology scholar Emil Verner.The Indonesian government projects Indonesia’s economic growth to slow to 2.3 percent this year, the lowest in 21 years, from 5.02 percent in 2019. In a worst-case scenario, the economy could contract 0.4 percent this year, according to Finance Ministry presentation material.To prevent an economic meltdown, the government announced Rp 405.1 trillion (US$24.6 billion) in additional state spending on health care, a social safety net and a business rescue program, including tax incentives and liquidity support.To fund the effort, the state budget deficit has been allowed to widen beyond the previous legal limit of 3 percent of GDP. Also, Bank Indonesia (BI) would be allowed to buy government bonds directly, throwing a lifeline to the state budget.World Bank East Asia Pacific chief economist Aaditya Mattoo said the pandemic required drastic action such as strong social distancing and travel restrictions. The effectiveness of such measures would depend on the level of preparedness in the country, he said.“A lockdown will inflict significant economic pain on those least stable to take care of themselves,” Mattoo said in a conference media briefing on March 30. “The [government’s] priority has to be to find a way to soften the pain both for households and informal workers.”Read also: World Bank calls for safety net, drastic action in Indonesia’s fight to contain COVID-19Mattoo explained that the government could devise a new paid leave arrangement: “It serves a double benefit: They soften the pain while also encouraging workers to stay at home.”The government also needed to try and think of credit liquidity transfers to firms and tax payment exemptions for them, he added.“These are the complementary economic measures that, in the short run, when people can neither work nor consume as freely as they would have, are absolutely essential to minimize the economic pain and prevent short-term economic shocks.”Topics : “We see that the government’s public health policy has yet to be as thorough as what public health experts have suggested. Therefore, we see economic policy as maybe being flat if the spread of the virus continues,” Halley Yudhistira, an economist from the University of Indonesia, told The Jakarta Post.Read also: 70 million informal workers most vulnerable during pandemicPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo declared a public health emergency on March 31 and imposed large-scale social restrictions. He ruled out a lockdown option despite calls from health experts and regional leaders to implement local quarantine measures to slow down the infection and fatality rates, as 2,092 cases were reported with 191 dead, among the highest death rates in the world.“We want economic activities to carry on, but our people should keep their distance from each other. Social distancing, physical distancing, that’s the most important point,” the President said. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan had requested for Jakarta to implement regional quarantine measures to no avail, as Jakarta, the nation’s epicenter of the virus, accounts for half of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Indonesia. The government’s decision to avoid imposing regional quarantine measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to inflict greater economic harm than if any such policy was imposed to slow down infection, a survey of 145 economists has found.Around 90 percent of the economists were in agreement that avoiding quarantine will result in greater economic damage. The survey was conducted by seven economic scholars from the University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University, Leiden University in the Netherlands and UC Davis University in the United States.The survey, supported by the Indonesian Regional Science Association (IRSA), saw 54 percent of the 145 economists respond with “strongly agree” that avoiding quarantine will result in considerable harm, while 36 percent “agree”.last_img read more

Indonesia unveils bigger stimulus worth $47.6 billion to fight coronavirus impacts

first_imgThe government unveiled on Wednesday a bigger stimulus package worth Rp 677.2 trillion (US$47.6 billion) to anchor the virus-battered economy, the growth of which is expected to fall to a level similar to that of the 1998 Asian financial crisis.The latest budget, which is higher than the Rp 641.17 trillion initially allocated, aims to strengthen the healthcare system, direct more spending toward social protection to boost consumption and provide incentives to rescue Indonesian businesses from bankruptcy and workers from layoffs.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government had put in place support measures to counter an economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the government would again revise the macroeconomic assumption underpinning the state budget to cover for the larger stimulus package. “This is a thorough stimulus package to support people’s purchasing power and businesses,” Sri Mulyani told reporters in a livestreamed news conference. “We are hoping that this stimulus can maintain our economic growth at above zero percent.”The Indonesian economy grew 2.97 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the first quarter, the weakest in 19 years, as household spending and investment growth plunged as the outbreak hit economies around the world.Read also: Experts, activists call for heightened public scrutiny of COVID-19 policies, fundingSri Mulyani said gross domestic product (GDP) growth could be lower than the government’s projection of 2.3 percent this year. In the worst-case scenario, the government expects the economy to contract 0.4 percent. Under the new stimulus budget, the government will provide Rp 87.55 trillion for the healthcare sector, Rp 203.9 trillion to strengthen social safety net programs and Rp 123.46 trillion in incentives for micro, small and medium businesses.As much as Rp 120.6 trillion will be allocated for bigger tax incentives and Rp 97.11 trillion to support ministries and regional administrations, while Rp 44.57 trillion comprises the stimulus for state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and labor-intensive businesses.The government now projects the state budget deficit to reach 6.34 percent of GDP, up from the previous estimation of 6.27 percent. It expects state revenue to reach Rp 1.4 quadrillion this year, while state spending is projected to increase by Rp 124.5 trillion to Rp 2.74 quadrillion.“We will treat the widening budget deficit carefully in terms of sustainability and financing,” Sri Mulyani pledged. “We will look for financing sources with the lowest risk and costs.”Read also: Indonesia may lose market confidence due to mounting debts: World BankBank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo pledged during the same briefing to continue buying government bonds in the primary market as the last resort and non-competitive bidder to help finance the government’s budget. The central bank has bought around Rp 26 trillion worth of bonds directly through auctions.“Close coordination between the Finance Ministry and the central bank in budget financing has fueled confidence among market players,” Perry told reporters. “With growing market optimism, we expect that the needs of our bond buying program will be small.“Bank Indonesia is also ready to minimize the government’s interest rate burden to support economic recovery if needed.”BI has injected a total of Rp 583.5 trillion since the beginning of the year to carry out monetary operations to stabilize the financial market and boost bank liquidity, among other purposes.World Bank senior economist for Indonesia Ralph van Doorn called on the Indonesian government to take steps to maintain market confidence as debt mounts amid the outbreak.“The government must [provide assurances over its] fiscal strategy to raise revenues back to at least the 2018 level to flatten the debt curve,” Van Doorn said recently.Read also: Explainer: Indonesia to finance coronavirus battle mostly through debtIt should unwind “exceptional measures” taken to battle the pandemic after the virus threat subsides, including by reinstating the deficit ceiling of 3 percent and ending Bank Indonesia’s partial financing of the deficit, he said.Indonesia’s debt-to-GDP ratio would rise to 37 percent this year, from 29.8 percent at the end of last year, van Doorn projected.Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Indonesia economist Piter Abdullah, meanwhile, lauded the government’s move.”Although it may not be enough, the move signals that the government is flexible about adjusting the stimulus,” Piter told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. “This would boost market confidence and help strengthen the rupiah exchange rate.”Topics :last_img read more

German virus hunters track down corona outbreaks

first_imgSecond wave looms Germany in microcosm, Cologne’s toll from the virus remains limited, with 2,500 infections since February and 100 deaths.The daily tally of new cases is well below the peak of the pandemic in March.But “that’s no reason to let our guards down,” warns doctor Johannes Niessen, the head of the public health office.As lockdowns are eased, the federal government plans to step up testing in parallel to keep the virus’ spread under control.”We’re prepared for the second wave of infections that could arrive in the autumn,” Niessen says.Not all of Germany’s 400 public health offices are as resilient as Cologne’s, with the number of doctors recruited by the state down by a third in the past 15 years according to public health doctors’ federation BVOeGD.Many departing colleagues have not been replaced, as the public salaries on offer can’t compete with the private sector.The federal health ministry has vowed to spend 50 million euros ($56 million) digitizing public health offices, and in the spring recruited 500 students as “containment scouts” deployed to virus hotspots around Germany.Meanwhile the German army told AFP it has pressed 190 soldiers into service as contact tracers in health offices nationwide.Even the new tracking app “cannot replace our contact work nor the advice we give to patients,” tracker Gruene believes. From Tuesday, the human virus trackers are backed up by an official contact-tracing app, aping other nations’ efforts to automate identification of potentially infectious encounters.”It’s not the first warning app to be launched worldwide, but I’m very convinced that it’s the best,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun — himself a doctor — said Tuesday.For the student trackers, a fax dropping out of the machine in the Cologne office announcing another positive coronavirus test marks the start line for the team. Relentless questioning With not a minute to lose, the health office aims to call the new case within an hour.Their task on that first call starts with warning the person they are sick and should quarantine themselves.But the staff must also “manage emotions” that can range from a false sense of security to panic, says Andreas Gehlhar, one of the 200 students manning the phones since March.For worse-afflicted neighbors Germany has proved to be an example, with fewer deaths, at around 8,800, than other European countries like France, Italy or Britain.Medical students’ training in taking a case history from a patient has proved “vital for tracking down the disease,” Gehlhar says.From the initial case, they spread their net to all of the people they might have come into contact with in the 48 hours before the positive test.Like detectives, the tracers often can’t settle for the first answer they get.”An old person living in shared housing might tell us she’s only seen her daughter in the last two days, and later you find out she spoke to the cleaning staff in the stairwell or sat for 30 minutes in the waiting room at the doctor’s office where she was tested,” said Barbara Gruene.A student doctor, Gruene has found herself at the head of one of the three “brigades” of contact trackers staffing the office.Once the most extensive possible list of contacts for each case has been established, they must then call each person in turn.Between them the students can check up on the contactees in more than 20 languages, vital among Cologne’s million-strong multiethnic population.The tracers hope to convince all first-degree contacts to place themselves under quarantine.”The vast majority agrees,” says Gruene, allowing the office to “break the virus’ chains of transmission”. A team of medical students pressed into service by Cologne’s public health office are scrambling to cut off potential new chains of coronavirus infections by endlessly repeating the same questions.”What are your symptoms? Who have you met in the last few days,” they ask people with confirmed or suspected cases.Such painstaking detective work is vital to avoid a second wave with more deaths and economic damage, as Germany eases the far-reaching lockdowns imposed in March to control the disease’s spread. Topics :last_img read more

Pharma companies should focus on multivitamins: Association

first_imgHospitals have also suspended some nonemergency procedures, especially dentistry, elective surgery and ear, nose and throat (ENT) services since April, consequently pushing down demand for various types of medicines.Furthermore, Tirto said, pharmaceutical companies should prepare themselves for the post-pandemic era by manufacturing drugs for diseases that are projected to grow in the future, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.Meanwhile, the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) has announced that it has deregulated the drug certification process to expedite the pre-manufacturing process of pharmaceutical products, including health supplements.The BPOM’s drug registration director, Lucia Rizka Andalucia, said on Tuesday that the agency had simplified the certification process for pharmaceutical products that are being developed to combat the spread of COVID-19.“We’re simplifying and deregulating our certification process without reducing our standards for products that are used against COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, health supplements and medicines,” she said during an online webinar held by marketing consulting firm Markplus.Lucia claimed that the processing time to obtain the good medicine manufacturing practices certification (CPOB) had been cut to seven working days from previously 35 working days.Meanwhile, the licensing process for good cosmetics manufacturing practices (CPKB) certification, which is needed to produce hand gels and sanitizers, was slashed to two working days from 20 working days.“We also provide assistance during the development of vaccines and drugs and could possibly provide regulatory relaxation and waivers based on our risk assessment of the products,” she said.Topics : Pharmaceutical companies might have to switch the focus of their production to dietary supplements such as multivitamins during the pandemic to cater to increasing consumer demand, an industry association has stated.Indonesian Pharmaceutical Association (GP Farmasi) chairman Tirto Kusnadi told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that companies should capitalize on increasing demand for multivitamins as sales of other pharmaceutical products had declined during the health crisis.“People are scrambling for multivitamins to maintain their immune system, so companies that produce vitamins have seen their sales double,” he said in a phone interview. Publicly listed pharmaceutical companies, such as Indofarma and Kalbe Farma, have reported an increase in multivitamin sales since the pandemic. Kalbe Farma recorded a 6.9 percent year-on-year (yoy) jump in net sales of its consumer health products, which include vitamins, in the first quarter this year to Rp 996 billion (US$70.1 million), higher than the sales growth of prescription pharmaceutical products at 5.3 percent.Tirto said that demand for generic drugs, frequently prescribed for patients under the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) program, had dropped by around 25 percent since the outbreak of the virus as fear of contagion is discouraging people from visiting hospitals.“People are afraid of contracting COVID-19 at a hospital, so they have been avoiding [hospitals] since the pandemic started. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies must align their product portfolios with this behavioural change,” he said.Hospital occupancy in Indonesia had fallen to between 20 and 50 percent as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country, the Health Ministry’s director for referral health services, Tri Hesty Widyastoeti Marwotosoeko, said in early May.last_img read more