Indonesian Ambassador to India Sidharto Suryodipuro said the embassy was closely monitoring the case.“We have received a confirmation from Telangana’s health authority that one of the Indonesian citizens tested positive. Nine other Indonesians will be tested later [on Tuesday] and the result will be announced tomorrow [on Wednesday],” he told The Jakarta Post.However, he provided no further details about the chronology of the case.The news outlet reported that the Indonesians alongside three Indians were staying in a mosque after arriving in Karimnagar. The Indonesian Embassy in New Delhi confirmed on Tuesday that an Indonesian citizen had tested positive for the coronavirus and was now under intensive care at a hospital in India’s city of Hyderabad.Local news outlet The New Indian Express reported on Tuesday morning that a total of 10 Indonesians and three Indians had been brought to Hyderabad’s Gandhi Hospital on Monday after they were suspected to have contracted COVID-19.The police said the 10 Indonesians belonged to an Islamic outreach organization and had arrived in Karimnagar – a city in Telangana state in southeast India – on Saturday from Delhi. As the Indian government has restricted international arrivals into the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, authorities who had received information regarding the arrival of the Indonesians began to look for them and later took them to the nearby hospital for COVID-19 tests before taking them to Hyderabad.Sidharto pointed out that the embassy would guarantee that the Indonesian citizens’ rights were protected in accordance with Indian law.The Indonesian embassy will provide interpreting services for them. “I have also spoken to the Telangana state’s director of public health. They said our fellow Indonesians were being taken care of in the hospital,” Sidharto added.“The embassy is ready to cooperate with Indian health authorities to ensure the well-being of people around us,” he said.Topics :
Brent crude for May declined $1.27, or 5.1 percent, to $23.66 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange as of 9 a.m. Singapore time after falling to $23.03 earlier. The contract is also set for the worst month on record, down 53 percent in April, and 64 percent lower this quarter.Read also: Jokowi orders ministries to crunch numbers on plunging oil pricesWest Texas Intermediate slid 80 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $20.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after falling to $19.92 in early trading. The contract is down 54 percent this month and 66 percent this quarter.Global oil demand is in freefall and consumption may decline by as much as 20 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Administration. That is forcing producers worldwide to slash output, while independent trader Trafigura Group expects as much as 1 billion barrels to be sent into storage tanks in the coming months.Topics : Oil slumped to a 17-year low as coronavirus lockdowns cascaded through the world’s largest economies, leaving the market overwhelmed by cratering demand and a ballooning surplus of crude.Futures in London fell as much as 7.6 percent to the lowest since November 2002, while New York crude briefly dipped below US$20 a barrel. Physical oil markets are struggling to store fuel, hit by a double whammy of virus restrictions eroding demand and a damaging war for market share between Saudi Arabia and Russia that has prices on track for the worst quarter on record.The kingdom said on Friday that it hadn’t had any contact with Moscow about output cuts or enlarging the OPEC+ alliance of producers. Russia also doubled down, with Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin saying oil at $25 a barrel is unpleasant, but not a catastrophe for the nation’s producers. Read also: Medco cuts capex and production over oil price crash“Demand concerns are critical but well known, what really took the market down were the signals we got from Saudi Arabia and Russia that they intend to continue their current path,” said Vivek Dhar, a commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia. “Market hopes of a deal have come undone.”OPEC nations aren’t giving support to a request from the group’s president for emergency consultations over tanking prices, according to a delegate. Algeria, which holds the cartel’s rotating presidency, has urged the secretariat to convene a panel but the call has failed to gather the majority backing necessary to go ahead. Riyadh is among those opposing the idea.The world normally uses 100 million barrels of oil day, but forecasters predict as much as a quarter of that has disappeared in just a few weeks. The plunge in consumption is without precedent since a steady flow of oil became essential to the global economy more than a century ago. The great crash of 1929, the twin oil shocks of the 1970s and the global financial crisis don’t come close.
On Tuesday, Security Council members held a video conference with deputy UN special representative for Afghanistan Ingrid Hayden to discuss the latest situation in the war-torn country, which has had to contend with the contagion on top of recent efforts to bring about lasting peace between the US-backed government and the Afghan Taliban group.The council urged the warring parties to heed the UN secretary-general’s call for an immediate ceasefire and guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Afghanistan.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire – for all conflict around the world – on March 23 so countries could shift their resources to respond to the pandemic.Indonesia underlined the importance for all Afghan political leaders to unite, set aside their differences and put the interests of the people first, according to its mission to the UN. Earlier on Monday, in a historic first, the Security Council adopted four resolutions virtually, including one on the safety and security of UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) abroad – a priority issue Indonesia has flagged for its two-year non-permanent term on the council.As the largest contributor to peacekeeping forces among council members with 2,705 deployed personnel, Indonesia co-sponsored the draft resolution and played an active role in its negotiation, Ambassador to the UN Dian Triansyah Djani said on Tuesday from New York.”UN peacekeeping forces have shown real dedication and sacrifice to bring about peace,” he said in a statement, underlining the safety and security of UN peacekeeping forces as a top priority.Deployed in conflict-addled regions around the world, the UN Blue Helmets are at the forefront of the UN Security Council’s efforts to bring about world peace and security, but ground forces are often left to fend for themselves when it comes to illnesses and other physical conditions.The UNSC resolution encourages, among other things, increased support and medical facilities for the evacuation and/or treatment of members of the force who are in critical condition.The three other resolutions passed were related to the extension of the mandate by the UN Security Council.Resolution 2515 extended the mandate of the Panel of Experts for North Korea to April 30, allowing them to continue to report its work on the implementation of a resolution related to North Korea.Meanwhile, Resolution 2516 extended the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to June 30. With this extension, UNSOM is expected to continue to support Somalia as it approaches election season in late 2020 or early 2021.Through Resolution 2517, the Security Council will maintain a total of 6,505 UNAMID troops until May 2020 to help keep the peace and support the transitional government in Sudan.Council members were also briefed on the latest developments in the Isreali-Palestinian conflict.“As the region continues to confront the enormity of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the broader geopolitical tensions, the situation on the ground remains fragile,” said Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Secretary-General’s special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, according to a transcript on the UN website.Mladenov said that credible negotiations had yet to be launched, and Israel had not taken steps to cease all settlement activities and respect related legal obligations during the reporting period.Topics : Even the august forum of the United Nations Security Council was not spared from the far reach of the COVID-19 pandemic, as member states began adapting to the new realities of the global health crisis by resuming activities virtually – including for voting in new council resolutions.Diplomatic activities at the UN headquarters have been significantly reduced after the state of New York became yet another epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, but discussions on world peace and security had to go on, as UN member states discovered.The pandemic has also forced the council to vote in writing, while the results were announced in a teleconference. Negotiations were also conducted virtually, where possible.
Share prices of two companies, financial service provider PT Bhakti Multi Artha and property developer PT Bumi Benowo Sukses Sejahtera, have soared by up to 35 percent during their market debut despite weakening stock index on Wednesday. The shares of Bhakti Multi, listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) under the code BHAT, rose by almost 35 percent to Rp 139 (1 US cent) from its initial public offering (IPO) price of Rp 103, just a minute after morning trading opened. Bumi Benowo’s shares, traded under the code BBSS, also climbed 35 percent to Rp 162 per share, from its initial price of Rp 120. “Going forward, we will continue to develop insurance products and other financial services to meet the dynamic needs of the public,” Dimas noted. During its IPO, Bhakti Multi raised Rp 206 billion, which will be used to increase the capital of its subsidiary company, PT Asuransi Jiwa Nasional. “With the listing, the company has a greater chance to conduct expansion such as strengthening capital and adding investment portfolio,” Dimas said in a written statement published on Wednesday. Read also: Millions to lose jobs, fall into poverty as Indonesia braces for recessionThe company’s subsidiary, operating in the life insurance sector, has more than 900,000 customers. Bumi Benowo, on the other hand, raised Rp 156 billion from its IPO, which took place earlier this month and planned to use the majority of its proceeds to purchase plots of land. “Our company operates in construction, warehousing and shop-houses and so far owns 10 hectares of land from a total of 30 hectares allowed in the location permit,” Bumi Benowo Sukses Sejahtera president director Felix Soesanto said during the virtual ceremony on Wednesday. The company planned to allocate 88 percent of the funds to purchase a 59,000-square-meter plot of land in Kebomas district, Gresik, East Java. The land, worth around Rp 130 billion, will be developed into a warehouse area. The rest of the funds will be used as working capital for the company’s development. The company aims to increase sales by 579.1 percent this year and see a net profit increase of 808.3 percent, of which 20 percent of the net profit will be disbursed as dividends to shareholders. According to a written statement obtained by The Jakarta Post, the company expressed optimism about its business growth as it was supported by the strong prospects of e-commerce business and third party logistics, as well as its lands’ strategic location to transportation hubs, which would ease distribution. Read also: Explainer: The progress and challenges of sustainable financing in IndonesiaBumi Benowo and Bhakti Multi became the 25th and 26th companies, respectively, to be listed on the IDX this year and the seventh and eight companies to do so with a virtual officiating ceremony as the government issued large-scale social restrictions amid the COVID-19 outbreak. “It is a very strategic decision for the company to engage with the public through an initial public offering and to join elite companies on the Indonesia Stock Exchange,” IDX assessment director I Gede Nyoman Yetna said in the virtual ceremony on Wednesday. “We hope these two companies can bring optimal shareholder value and are capable of contributing to the growth of the national economy,” he added.Topics : Read also: Companies offer special packages, new services to entice virus-weary customersAs the share prices of the two companies had reached the limit of percentage increase for a single-day transaction for their price range, bids higher than the peak prices will automatically be rejected as regulated in the exchange’s auto rejection regulation. The IDX’s main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), meanwhile, jumped during morning trade before succumbing back to negative territory as trading went on. The index plunged by more than 2 percent as of 2:10 p.m. and had lost almost 27 percent of its value so far this year amid concerns of economic blows during the COVID-19 pandemic.Bhakti Multi Artha president director Dimas Teguh Mulyanto said during a virtual ceremony of the company’s listing on Wednesday that it planned to bring out new financial products for its customers.
The government expects Indonesia’s economy to grow between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent in 2021 as it assumes the COVID-19 pandemic will still cast a shadow over business activity, according to the macroeconomic assumption for the 2021 state budget plan.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Tuesday that the 2021 state budget would be mainly used to support economic recovery, including a rebound in the manufacturing industry, tourism and investment, as well as to improve the national healthcare system and social safety net.“This is expected to revive the national economic contributors that are currently facing challenges from the COVID-19 [pandemic],” Sri Mulyani said in a House of Representatives plenary meeting on Tuesday. The government had projected spending of Rp 2.54 quadrillion, or around 15 percent of the GDP, in the original 2020 state budget, while collecting Rp 2.23 quadrillion in revenue, resulting in a projected deficit at Rp 307.2 trillion or 1.76 percent of the GDP.However, as the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy, the government now expects state revenue collection to drop by 10 percent, forcing the budget deficit to widen to 5.07 percent of GDP or Rp 852.9 trillion as the government set aside Rp 436.1 trillion in extra spending to cope with COVID-19 impacts.The government also projected Tuesday that the rupiah exchange rate would move in the range of Rp 14,900 to Rp 15,300 a dollar next year and the yield of the benchmark 10-year bond would be within a range of 6.67 percent to 9.56 percent. The government expects inflation to hover at 2 percent to 4 percent.Oil lifting in 2021 is expected at 677,000 to 737,000 barrels per day, while gas lifting is seen at 1.08 million to 1.17 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.”The government is indicating that the economy would turn to normal by 2021 even though the outbreak is hard to predict,” Josua Pardede, an economist at Bank Permata said. “We think this is too optimistic, as next year’s target is almost the same as this year’s projection.”The initial 2020 state budget plan assumed economic growth at 5.3 percent, higher than the 5.02 percent achieved last year. However, the government has lowered its target to 2.3 percent for this year under the baseline scenario, and to a contraction of 0.4 percent under the worst-case scenario, as the pandemic has disrupted business activity.Topics : The macroeconomic assumption is proposed to the House as the first step for the state budget drafting and deliberation.In the macroeconomic assumption, the government proposed a budget deficit of between 3.21 percent and 4.17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 to support the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. The deficit would be lower than the 5.07 percent of GDP projected for this year.State spending is expected to reach 13.11 percent to 15.17 percent of GDP, while tax revenue is expected to reach 8.25 percent to 8.63 percent of GDP and nontax income 1.6 percent to 2.3 percent of GDP.“With a focus on economic recovery and the challenges ahead, the reforms will be directed at healthcare, social security, education and direct transfers to regional administrations,” Sri Mulyani said, adding that the government would work to expand its tax base and boost income from excise.
A 72-year-old patient under surveillance (PDP) for COVID-19, identified as MR, has died after reportedly jumping from the fourth floor of the Hermina Hospital in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, on Sunday morning.East Jakarta Police crime unit head Sr. Adj. Comr. Hery Purnomo said the police had questioned two people in relation to this case, one of whom testified that MR had asked to go home the night before the incident.“The witness, who was in the same room as the victim, saw the victim open the window and jumped out from the fourth floor of Hermina Hospital,” Hery said in a statement on Sunday, as quoted by kompas.com.Read also: Family moves to forest to avoid stigma after being examined for COVID-19Another witness named Ismail, who was on duty at Hermina Hospital, heard a crashing sound. Upon learning there was a dead body at the entrance to the parking lot, Ismail immediately contacted the police.The police are still investigating whether MR intended to flee, commit suicide or had another motive.“The handling of the victim’s body was carried out in accordance with COVID-19 protocols,” Hery added. (syk)Topics :
“I’ve instructed the villages to rapidly channel the funding, and subsequently submit the data on the beneficiaries to cities or regencies,” Abdul said.The central government estimates that 3 million to 5.23 million Indonesians may lose their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, while some 1.89 million to 4.89 million people may fall below the poverty line as the health crisis brings economic activity to a standstill.It plans to increase spending on village fund cash assistance to Rp 31.8 trillion after previously allocating Rp 21.2 trillion.The government will provide Rp 600,000 per month for three months to families that meet certain criteria, such as having a family member who has lost their job and not having received assistance via the Family Hope Program (PKH) or the staple-food card program. An additional Rp 300,000 may be provided to families for another three months.Topics : The government aims to complete the disbursement of the BLT Dana Desa (village funds unconditional cash transfers) to around 8 million families this week, as a part of its efforts to protect households at greater risk of falling into poverty amid the COVID-19 outbreak.Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Abdul Halim Iskandar said on Tuesday that 73 percent of the total 74,953 villages in the country had channeled some Rp 3.48 trillion (US$242 million) in cash assistance to around 5.8 million families so far.The remaining 27 percent of villages, on the other hand, had yet to distribute the money because of, among other reasons, the sluggish process of data synchronization at the upper administration level. The minister has therefore instructed the villages simply to disburse the money to the families they had already identified to expedite the process.
The addition of Novavax’s candidate to Operation Warp Speed’s portfolio “increases the odds that we will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.Besides the massive cash infusion for Novavax, the US government inked a $450 million contract with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to make and supply its antibody cocktail for COVID-19.Novavax is somewhat of a dark horse in the race for a coronavirus vaccine. The company was not on the list of vaccine finalists for Warp Speed previously reported by the New York Times that included Moderna, AstraZeneca, Pfizer Inc, J&J and Merck & Co.In May, Novavax received an additional $388 million in funding for COVID-19 vaccine development from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a private foundation, after a $4 million investment in March. In June, the US Defense Department awarded the company $60 million to support manufacturing of 10 million doses of its vaccine in 2020.’A big scale up’The company is in the process of transferring its vaccine technology to an unnamed contract manufacturer that has two large manufacturing facilities, its CEO said. That is in addition to the work being done by Emergent Biosolutions, which is making doses to supply the company’s smaller early and midstage clinical trials.By early next year, Novavax expects to be able to make 50 million doses a month in the United States.”It’s a big scale up in a few different manufacturing sites in the United States,” Erck said. “What it leaves us with is the capacity of making many more doses in the US in 2021.”Novavax did not start human safety trials until late May. One reason for the delay is that the vaccine is grown in insect cells, a process that can take 30 days before company scientists can start purifying it and making it in bulk.”You lose a month or so there, but I don’t think we’re behind because of our data,” Erck said, referring to animal data showing a strong immune response and high levels of virus-killing antibodies.Besides Moderna, the company trails two other candidates – one from AstraZeneca and Oxford University and one from Pfizer and BioNTech.Jefferies analyst Jared Holz said the cash infusion “places Novavax in a very enviable position should its data look compelling later in the year.”Although Novavax has not yet produced a licensed vaccine, Sanofi SA uses the same basic technology to make flu vaccine, “so the risk of us not succeeding is pretty low,” Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development for Novavax, said in a telephone interview.The Novavax vaccine works in conjunction with an adjuvant – a substance that boosts the immune response to help the body build a robust defense against the virus.Currently, Novavax makes its adjuvant in Sweden. The company is building up US manufacturing capacity for its adjuvant “so that we can make upwards of a billion doses of adjuvant in the United States,” Erck said.Novavax also has a manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic and hopes to have two other plants in Europe and one in Asia, Erck said. The company is also working with a manufacturer in India. The aim there is to make more than 100 million doses a month, Erck said.Topics : “What this Warp Speed award does is it pays for production of 100 million doses, which would be delivered starting in the fourth quarter of this year, and may be completed by January or February of next year,” Novavax Chief Executive Stanley Erck told Reuters.It will also cover the cost of running a large Phase III trial, the final stage of human testing.Erck said Novavax expects results of its Phase I trial testing the vaccine’s safety within the next week or so. The company aims to start midstage trials in August or September, with Phase III testing starting in October, Erck added.The HHS announcement follows a $456 million investment in Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate in March, a $486 million award to Moderna Inc in April, and up to $1.2 billion in support in May for AstraZeneca PLC’s vaccine being developed with Oxford University. The US government also awarded Emergent Biosolutions Inc $628 million to expand domestic manufacturing capacity for a potential coronavirus vaccine and drugs to treat COVID-19. The US government has awarded Novavax Inc $1.6 billion to cover testing and manufacturing of a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus in the United States, with the aim of delivering 100 million doses by January.The award announced by the US Department of Health and Human Services is the biggest yet from “Operation Warp Speed,” the White House initiative aimed at accelerating access to vaccines and treatments to fight COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.Shares in Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax rose 29% to $102 in morning trading.
US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign ran Facebook ads this weekend claiming that the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok is spying on users.The ads link to a survey asking whether TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, should be banned in the United States. They also ask for respondents’ names and contact details.”TikTok is spying on you,” claimed one ad. “TikTok has been caught red handed by monitoring what is on your phone’s clipboard,” it said. TikTok is facing scrutiny in Washington over concerns that China could force the company to turn over its user data.Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States was “certainly looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok. India banned TikTok and other Chinese apps in June.TikTok has said that it has never provided user data to China and that it would not do so if asked, and a spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday the company has “no higher priority than promoting a safe app experience that protects our users’ privacy.”Last month, when Apple released to developers a test version of its iOS operating system with new privacy features, developers showed images of TikTok’s app triggering notifications that it was copying data from users’ clipboards, where data is temporarily stored while copying and pasting from one app to another.TikTok said the notifications were caused by an anti-spam feature but it ended the practice June 27. TikTok also hit out at Facebook for running the ads. “Facebook is taking money for a political ad that attacks a competitor just as it’s preparing to launch a TikTok copycat,” the spokeswoman said in an email to Reuters.Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company’s photo-sharing app Instagram will soon be expanding its test of a short video format called Reels to the United States, according to media reports.Topics :
‘Anti China radicals’But the involvement of mainland China has sent the rumor mills into overdrive and compounded fears of Beijing’s surveillance state, which uses biometric data to monitor its citizens.Some prominent Hong Kong health experts have also questioned the efficacy of a mass testing program, arguing that more targeted monitoring of at-risk and vulnerable communities would be a better use of resources.They have also raised concerns that the act of testing so many people might itself help spread the virus in a city where emergency rules currently forbid more than two people gathering in public.A group of pro-democracy politicians and lawmakers, including prominent activist Joshua Wong, called on the public on Sunday to boycott the test. They voiced fears of mass DNA harvesting and concerns Hong Kong might introduce a mandatory health code system like those used on the mainland.Hong Kong’s government has repeatedly rejected those concerns, denying DNA would be taken and insisting that no tests would go to mainland labs.City leader Carrie Lam, a pro-Beijing appointee, slammed those opposed to the testing scheme as “active anti-Beijing, anti-government members” who “will not spare any chance to create troubles and stir up confrontations even when it comes to a public health issue”.Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office called those opposed to testing “anti-China radicals” with a “vile disregard” for public health.Last week Lam also dismissed doctors who voiced concerns about the efficacy of city-wide testing as being politically motivated, angering some in the medical community.At the height of the third wave in late July, Hong Kong was recording about 150 new coronavirus cases a day.Citing the rising infections, Lam cancelled local legislature elections for a year, sparking uproar from the city’s pro-democracy camp, which had hoped to capitalize on seething public anger after last year’s huge protests.Cases have since fallen back to single digits, with just nine new infections on Monday, and government opponents have questioned why elections needed to be cancelled if the government could also conduct city-wide tests.Authorities have said mass testing is a needed emergency health measure and that it will be conducted over multiple days, unlike an election. Topics : Hong Kong started conducting mass coronavirus tests on Tuesday, a health scheme that has been swept up in the political debate dividing the city, where many remain deeply distrustful of both local leaders and China.The voluntary tests are part of an attempt to stamp out a third wave of infections that began in late June and saw the densely populated city reimpose economically painful social distancing measures.The program has been hampered by a limited response due to the involvement of mainland Chinese testing firms and doctors — and swirling public fears of data and DNA harvesting as Beijing cracks down on the city’s democracy movement. Since registration began on Saturday, 510,000 people have signed up to take the free tests — around seven percent of the city’s 7.5 million population.More than half of all 141 community test centers across the city are fully booked for their first day on Tuesday.But health experts advising the government have said as many as five million people might need to be tested for the scheme to comprehensively uncover hidden transmissions and end the current wave.Hong Kong has recorded just over 4,800 infections since the virus first hit the city in late January but about 75 percent of those cases were detected since the start of July. Tests began at 8am (0000 GMT) on Tuesday and will run for between a week and two weeks depending on public demand, with numbers limited each day to reduce the risk of infection.Authorities have billed the scheme as a benevolent public health initiative made possible with Chinese help.