COVID-19: Indonesia confirms fifth death, 96 positive cases

first_imgIndonesian health authorities confirmed Saturday that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the country had increased to 96, with the total number of fatalities having reached five.The Health Ministry’s disease control and prevention director general Achmad Yurianto said authorities had detected 27 new positive cases as of Saturday. The ministry also recorded one new death.“The results were obtained after we conducted a massive [contact] tracing,” said Yurianto, who also serves as the government’s spokesperson for all coronavirus-related matters, during a press briefing in Jakarta on Saturday. Read also: Scientists urged to carry out further research on antimalarial drug to cure COVID-19Yurianto, however, did not disclose the identities of the new confirmed cases or the deceased patient.He claimed that the ministry had received 300 test samples as of Saturday. The ministry previously stated they had prepared 10,000 coronavirus test kits to be disbursed to laboratories in universities and research agencies.When asked about the possibility of putting Indonesia under lockdown, Yurianto said that was not an option: “It’s not an option at this moment.”The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the government to declare a national state of emergency to scale up emergency response mechanisms to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19.Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s COVID-19 tally exceeds 100 with 21 new confirmed cases

Yurianto said the ministry would relay the findings to the hospitals in which the patients are being treated.The data, he added, was needed so that the medical teams in charge of treating the patients could give them a proper explanation on the next steps to be taken, including isolation.“[It] is the patient’s right to know,” he said.The doctors must also inform local health authorities on the new cases so that the relevant authorities in the respective region could begin contact tracing, Yurianto said.“Afterward, the health agencies should inform the local governments. It is their prerogative to decide whether to announce [the new cases] to the public, without neglecting their privacy as mandated by law,” Yurianto said, adding that he believed regional leaders had their own policies to contain the spread of the virus.The WHO said on Saturday that the virus had been circulating in 136 countries, with 13 new countries reporting their first cases. At least 5,393 people have died of the disease, but more than 73,900 have recovered worldwide.Some prominent figures around the world – from celebrities to high-ranking officials — have tested positive for COVID-19, including Indonesian Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi. (asp)Topics : Indonesia announced 21 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday afternoon, bringing the total of recorded people infected with the new disease to 117.“Today, we received reports of 21 new cases, 19 of which are in Jakarta and two in Central Java,” Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto said on Sunday, as quoted by kontan.co.id.He declined to elaborate on the cases, saying only that they were linked to previous cases reported in the capital. read more

Vigilance key to avoid healthcare battle on two fronts

first_imgThe nationwide figure was around half of 69,424 cases reported in the same period last year. The nation saw 536 fatalities in the same period in 2019.Despite the lower number of cases so far this year, Budi Haryanto, a professor at the University of Indonesia’s (UI) School of Public Health, urged the government to exercise vigilance, given that more people were staying home now under the government’s instruction to contain the spread of COVID-19. He said this might expose them to a higher risk of encountering the Aedes aegypti mosquito, a host of numerous viruses, including the dengue virus.“Many people are staying home right now, which means the risk of [contracting dengue fever] would be increased,” Budi said.Aedes aegypti mosquitoes tend to live near humans and hide inside houses, particularly in dark places. They tend to only go outdoors in search of breeding grounds, according to Budi. The government, with much of its focus now on battling the COVID-19 outbreak, should remain vigilant in anticipation of dengue fever cases to ease the strain on medical facilities in the country, a health expert has said.A total of 34,451 dengue fever cases were recorded in Indonesia from January to March 24, with West Java having reported the highest number of cases at 5,894, followed by East Nusa Tenggara with 3,595 cases and Lampung with 3,408 cases, according to Health Ministry data. Dengue fever claimed 212 lives during the same period. Occasional fogging, a well-established measure to kill adult mosquitoes by spraying insecticides around houses and residential areas, could be less effective now, considering the longer people stay at home during daytime, he said. He, instead, recommended people to regularly spray mosquito repellents around their premises early in the morning, before the mosquito’s active hours later in the day.Currently no province has raised its alert status to that of an extraordinary occurrence (KLB) for dengue fever, said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the Health Ministry’s director of vector and zoonotic infectious diseases.Six cities and regencies, meanwhile, have declared the KLB status so far this year. East Nusa Tenggara’s Sikka, the regency with the highest number of dengue fever cases in the country this year at 1,480 cases, revoked its KLB status on March 18, indicating that the situation there had already improved, said Siti.Yet, she called on the public to keep their environment clean and remove stagnant water to deprive the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes of breeding spots, considering that, according to previous data, dengue fever cases usually peaked between March and April.“We keep reminding the public to stay vigilant, because this is the period of dengue transmission,” Siti said. “People are urged to actively clean their houses and surroundings from mosquito nests, particularly since most people are staying home now.”The central government, she said, continued to update regional administrations with the latest available data and analysis to ensure they remained alert in anticipation of the dengue fever outbreak.With more than 1,000 dengue fever cases reported, questions remain as to whether Jakarta, which is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia, will be able to handle two epidemics simultaneously.As of Saturday afternoon, Jakarta recorded 627 COVID-19 cases — or around 54 percent of the 1,155 cases recorded across Indonesia — and 62 deaths, according to government data published on covid19.go.id.The Jakarta Health Agency’s data, information and report management head Verry Adrian said that, as of Thursday, no hospitals in Jakarta had reported disruption of their services because of treating dengue fever patients.He said that the Jakarta administration routinely conducted public campaigns on dengue prevention and putting healthcare facilities on standby to treat the cases.To curb the spread of dengue fever, the Jakarta Health Agency has also been encouraging households to appoint a member who can monitor larvae inside the house, called a jumantik. The agency is also working with one jumantik for every community unit (RW).The Jakarta administration, in collaboration with the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), provides an early warning system for dengue fever on dbd.bmkg.go.id. The online platform provides estimates on the number of dengue fever cases in each municipality in Jakarta, with rainfall and humidity used as the main predictors.According to the website, the rate of dengue fever cases in April was estimated to be higher than the rate in March, based on its prediction on March 16. It projected South Jakarta to have the highest rate of dengue fever cases with 12.8 cases per 100,000 people in April, compared to 12.5 cases per 100,000 people in March.The administration urges people to stay alert for rates above three cases per 100,000 people.Topics :last_img read more

Jokowi expects normal prices for staple foods as Ramadan approaches

first_img“We also have to ensure the logistics works smoothly because the staple food needs to be available in the markets,” said Jokowi.“I expect the home minister to reprimand regional leaders who close roads in an effort to make sure the logistics are free from disruption. Yesterday, I received reports from two regions that the distribution of rice was disrupted because some roads were closed.”As of Thursday, there are 1,790 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the nation, with 170 deaths and 112 recovered cases. Jakarta became the national epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for 897 confirmed cases, more than half of the national figure.As such large-scale social restrictions were expected to hit people with low incomes the hardest, the government was allocating Rp 405 trillion for, among other things, health care and social safety net programs, including the Family Hope Program, Staple-Food Card, Preemployment Card and electricity subsidies.Read also: Government expedites imports of staple needs to stabilize pricesThe government has launched social safety net programs aimed at helping low-income people make ends meet while going into self-quarantine. Many citizens, especially poor ones, had ignored the government’s instruction to stay at home because they had to go to work.President Jokowi had also urged religious and civil society organizations to encourage people to implement social distancing measures.The government had declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency, imposing large-scale social restriction measures. It temporarily suspended schools and offices, as well as religious and public activities.“It is important to tell them the importance of hand washing, reducing mobility outside their homes, wearing face masks and implementing large-scale social restrictions, which is in line with the health protocols both inside and outside their houses,” said Jokowi.Topics : The Jakarta office of Statistics Indonesia (BPS Jakarta) recorded that the average price of sugar in the capital city had risen by 20.62 percent to Rp 15,583 per kg, while garlic rose by 0.21 percent to Rp 44,465 per kg.Read also: Staple foods safe, but masks, sanitizer gone from markets as consumer behavior shiftsApart from ensuring supply, the government planned to prevent the commodity’s distribution from being disrupted as some regions across the country were closing roads in an effort to enforce large-scale social restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.A number of regions had closed major roads and borders, as well as enforced curfews to prevent the disease from spreading, including Tegal in Central Java, Bandung in West Java and Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo says he expects the prices of staple needs to return to normal as the government works to ensure enough supplies for the upcoming Islamic holy month of Ramadan, slated to start on April 23.“I have checked with Bulog [the State Logistics Agency] and regions regarding the harvest. I see that rice, meat, egg, sugar, wheat and other staple needs are still in good condition,” Jokowi said during an online meeting with his ministers on Thursday.Authorities had been procuring additional supplies of staple foods to prevent their market prices from surging ahead of Ramadan. Among the commodities are sugar, the price of which was expected to be about Rp 12,500 (76 US cents) per kilogram, and garlic, which would cost between Rp 20,000 and Rp 30,000 per kg.last_img read more

Untouchable: The baby born to a mum with coronavirus

first_imgFor 10 days after giving birth to her first child, the mother was not allowed near him after she tested positive for coronavirus, for fear of infecting her newborn. And even though she has since been reunited with her son, neither she nor her husband have been allowed to physically touch him without gloves as they undergo an extended period of quarantine. “It’s hard,” says Vanesa Muro at her home in Madrid, the worst-hit area in Spain, a country where more than 10,000 people have died from the virus, the highest number outside Italy. “He grabs your finger, the poor little thing and holds on to the plastic, not on to you. But at least that’s another day over, you have to think of it like that otherwise you get depressed,” says the 34-year-old.  She had been preparing to have the baby by caesarian section on March 16, but everything changed when her grandmother, who the couple had been seeing every day, caught the virus. She later died.  On March 12, she and her husband tested positive and he rushed her to Madrid’s La Paz University Hospital but he was not allowed in, “so he left me at A&E”, she told AFP.They decided to operate the next day.  ‘Longest 90 minutes’ “I felt a whole mixture of feelings, it was horrible,” she says — fear of infecting the baby, nervous about going through it without her husband, and the bizarre sense of being operated on by surgeons completely covered in protective suits.Back home, her husband was also struggling, knowing she was in surgery but not knowing what was going on.”It was the longest 90 minutes of my life,” says Oscar Carrillo.In the end, baby Oliver was born safely, weighing 3.6 kilograms.He was put straight into an incubator and kept away from all the other babies until he was tested and found to be free of the virus. Following 48 hours recovering in hospital in almost total isolation, with the staff entering the room as little as possible because of a lack of protective equipment, Muro was allowed to go home, but had to leave her baby behind. “It seems silly but even though he was seven floors below me, he seemed closer to me there than when I was home,” she says.  ‘Memory of a nightmare’ It was only 10 days later that the couple, wearing gloves and masks, were allowed to take him home. “Hey little champion, we’re going to go home now,” were the first words Muro said to her son during their emotional reunion. “It was like he’d just been born that day.”For Arantxa Fernandez, a psychologist at the hospital, it was also a very special moment, “the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced in my professional life,” she told AFP.Throughout the process, Fernandez would send the couple photos and videos of Oliver while he was still in hospital, offering the pair support that they describe as “vital”.Although they have spent 14 days in quarantine, there are no testing kits to confirm they are free from the virus so they are still wearing gloves and masks.”I still haven’t touched my son without gloves… we are just dying for the quarantine to end so we can touch him, kiss him,” says Carrillo as his wife gives Oliver a bottle, safety measures in place. And the new parents are not able to turn to their families for support. Even though Muro’s parents live very close, Spain’s lockdown means it feels like they are living miles away, Carrillo says. “It’s hard but we’ll get through it,” says Muro. “In no time, he’ll be a month old and we’ll be back out on the streets.”He will get to know his grandparents and aunts and uncles. And all of this will just be a memory of a nightmare that we lived through.”  Topics :last_img read more

China reports no new coronavirus deaths for first time

first_imgThere were also 30 new asymptomatic infections, health officials said, bringing the national total to 1,033. Around a quarter of the current total of asymptomatic cases were also imported from overseas.Last week, China began disclosing the number of asymptomatic cases for the first time, after growing public concerns over the potential of “silent” carriers to spread the disease. Fears have also been growing over a potential resurgence in the epicenter of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected late last year.After a number of asymptomatic cases were confirmed in the central Chinese city, local authorities revoked the “epidemic-free” status of 45 residential compounds on Monday. Topics : To date, 81,740 people have been infected and 3,331 have been killed by the deadly virus in China, with the vast majority in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province.Meanwhile, the global death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 70,000 as the virus ravages numerous countries in Europe and the US.center_img China on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January, the National Health Commission said. Cases in mainland China have been dwindling since March, but the country faces a second wave of infections brought in from overseas, with health officials reporting nearly 1,000 imported cases in total.China’s health authorities reported 32 new cases nationwide, all of which were imported.last_img read more

Brazil cocaine kingpin nabbed in Mozambique as gang expands

first_imgOn his way to the maximum security prison where he is now being held, dos Santos refused to answer questions from the press. “Talk to my lawyer,” he said.Brazil has 40 days to submit an extradition request, Simbine said, adding that dos Santos is being held on charges of drug possession and using a false passport.In its statement, Brazil’s federal police said the operation to catch dos Santos also involved the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of Justice and the Mozambique police.The Brazilian federal police also accused dos Santos of allegedly financing a rescue plan for PCC boss Marcos Willians Camacho, or “Marcola,” who is in a federal jail in Brasilia. The alleged plan prompted Brazilian authorities to heighten security at the jail in February, the statement said.Local media have reported that dos Santos was Camacho’s “right-hand man.” Topics : One of Brazil’s top cocaine traffickers has been arrested in Mozambique, officials in both countries said, underlining the growing global footprint of the First Capital Command (PCC) gang, Brazil’s most powerful criminal organization.Gilberto Aparecido dos Santos, aka “Fuminho,” had been on the run for more than 20 years until his capture in Maputo on Monday, and was one of Brazil’s “most-wanted” fugitives, Brazil’s federal police said in a statement.”The prisoner was considered the largest supplier of cocaine to a gang operating throughout Brazil, as well as being responsible for sending tons of the drug to several countries,” the statement said.center_img Originally formed as a prison gang in Sao Paulo, the PCC has spread across Brazil and is increasingly moving cocaine overseas, especially to Europe and Africa.In March, Reuters reported that Brazil has become one of the top suppliers of cocaine to Europe, transforming the country’s role in the trans-Atlantic drug trade.Leonardo Simbine, a spokesman for Mozambique’s Criminal Investigations Services, told Reuters that local police had been tipped off by Interpol that dos Santos had entered the country in mid-March.”We did our investigations and found him at a luxury hotel in Maputo. We arrested him with two accomplices, two Nigerian citizens,” Simbine said.last_img read more

Gilead in talks to expand global supply of COVID-19 drug remdesivir

first_imgGilead Sciences Inc said on Tuesday it was in discussions with chemical and drug manufacturers to produce its experimental COVID-19 drug remdesivir for Europe, Asia and the developing world through at least 2022.The drugmaker did not disclose details about the companies.With several countries across the globe reeling from the virus outbreak, interest in remdesivir has been high as there are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus. Gilead last week received the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization for using remdesivir as a treatment against COVID-19, after the drugmaker provided data showing the drug had helped COVID-19 patients.Gilead also said on Tuesday it was negotiating long-term licenses with several generic drugmakers in India and Pakistan to produce remdesivir for developing countries and that it would provide technology to aid the production.One of Bangladesh’s largest drugmakers, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, will start remdesivir production this month, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a senior company executive.Remdesivir was previously available only for patients enrolled in clinical trials or those cleared to get the drug under expanded use and compassionate use programs.Gilead, which has already said it will donate the first 1.5 million doses of remdesivir, also previously said it was focused on making the drug accessible and affordable to as many people as possible upon approval.Gilead said it was working to build a consortium of manufacturing partners to help maximize global supply of the drug, which requires scarce raw materials and specialized manufacturing capabilities with limited global capacity.The company also said it was in advanced talks with UNICEF to deliver remdesivir using the agency’s distribution networks. Topics :last_img read more

Bustling Jakarta returns with vengeance as lockdown eases

first_img“[Thank God], based on our supervision, 100 percent of public transportation passengers wore face masks.”Anies said that although the number of people commuting using personal vehicles was higher than the relatively low number of people using public transportation, he acknowledged that there were still passenger pileups, especially at Transjakarta stations, as workers returned to their office.The odd-even traffic policy will not be in place during the transition period, he added.“If there is no circular or notice from the governor regarding the implementation of the odd-even policy, then there is no such [rule],” he said, adding that the policy would be implemented if it became necessary to once again limit the number of people traveling throughout the capital. Read also: 50 days of Indonesia’s partial lockdown. Is it enough for the ‘new normal’?Anies decided on Thursday to extend Jakarta’s large-scale social restriction (PSBB) period to the end of June while easing measures for several sectors.The first 14-day PSBB period, also known as partial lockdown, was implemented on April 10 and effectively closed down schools and places of worship while restricting people’s movements and encouraging companies to allow their employees to work from home. The PSBB has been extended three times.As of Sunday, Jakarta has reported 7,946 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 537 deaths linked to the disease.Meanwhile, commuters have also packed train stations across Jakarta and its satellite cities as they head to their respective workplaces for the first time since the work-from-home policy was issued over two months ago.Dozens of Instagram users posted a series of photos showing long lines at train stations in Bogor and Bekasi in West Java.Despite the high-spirited return to a typical workday in Jakarta, however, some commuters have also taken to social media to express concerns over their safety as crowded stations and trains could potentially lead to a new wave of COVID-19 infections.PT Kereta Commuter Indonesia (KCI) spokesperson Anne Purba said the company recorded 150,000 commuters using its services on Monday morning, up from 80,000 recorded per day on average during the PSBB period.In anticipation of a significant increase in passengers, the company resumed normal operations with 935 trips per day.Anne emphasized that KCI had complied with a Transportation Ministry’s regulation that limited the number of passengers on each train to 35 to 40 percent of total capacity.“We are now able to serve 74 passengers per train, whereas during the PSBB period, we could have 60 passengers per train,” Anne said in a statement.KCI will continue to implement strict health protocols, such as conducting temperature checks and ensuring physical distancing among passengers, during the transition to a new normal, she added.Read also: Greater Jakarta in dark about ‘new normal’ commuteTransportation Ministry spokesperson Budi Rahardjo said the government would once again provide five transit buses for commuter-line passengers headed for Jakarta from Bogor between 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., with a 15-minute headway.The free service, which transfers commuters from Bogor Station to Dukuh Atas Station in South Jakarta, will be limited to 25 people per bus in compliance with prevailing COVID-19 protocols.Amid the hullabaloo surrounding people’s return to work, Transportation Study Institute (INSTRAN) executive director Deddy Herlambang urged the public to maintain a safe physical distance during their commute, underlining that it was crucial to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infection.However, he acknowledged this would be a challenge considering Jakartans’ habit of forcing themselves into packed trains during rush hour, for example.“Passengers often argue after being reminded [to keep a safe distance] because they feel that they have the same rights as [other public transportation users],” he said, suggesting that more officers be deployed at stations to ensure that passengers maintain a safe physical distance between one another.A survey conducted by the LaporCOVID-19 community reportedly revealed that Jakarta was not ready to transition into a new normal, citing low-risk perception of the disease among residents, which could lead to a spike in transmission.Topics : The sight of busy roads, crowded bus shelters and train stations that have long defined capital Jakarta as a business hub returned with a vengeance on Monday, which marked the reopening of several sectors, including offices, as the city transitions to a “new normal”.Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said he had received reports of increased traffic and long lines at several shelters of city-owned bus service Transjakarta from the administration’s field inspections on Monday morning.“The outbreak in Jakarta is not yet over, but today marks a period of transition in which several sectors are allowed to resume their activities,” he told reporters at the Kendal tunnel in Central Jakarta while conducting his morning inspection.last_img read more

Global virus death toll passes 425,000: Reports

first_imgThe coronavirus pandemic has killed 425,000 people since it emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally of official sources at 0130 GMT on Saturday.A total of 425,282 deaths have now been recorded from 7,632,517 cases.Europe has registered 186,843 deaths from 2,363,538 cases, but the epidemic is progressing most rapidly in Latin America, where there have been a total of 76,343 deaths recorded from 1,569,938 cases.The United States remains the country with the most recorded deaths at 114,643, ahead of Brazil which on Friday became the second worst-hit nation with 41,828 deaths. Britain is next with 41,481 deaths, followed by Italy (34,223) and France (29,374).Topics :last_img read more