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Observing govt measures to help Indonesia survive through pandemic

Observing govt measures to help Indonesia survive through pandemic

President Joko Widodo (ANTARA/HO-Presidential Press Bureau)

Keep on moving to recover from the pandemic
The administration of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Ma'ruf Amin has left no stone unturned in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic that has plagued Indonesia for almost two years.

The government has undertaken numerous efforts for handling the pandemic, starting from limiting the people's mobility and enforcing health protocols to providing vaccination and ensuring social and economic protection for the people.

All these efforts are recorded in the 2021 Government Performance Achievement report titled "Indonesia Resilient Indonesia Grows 2021" that was released on Wednesday (Oct 20).

"Keep on moving to recover from the pandemic" was the first phrase appearing in the report that describes all measures taken by the Jokowi government to help the nation survive and recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

No one can say with surety when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. The best way to deal with the "pandemic season" is to change our perspective in order to move towards a new normal.

Related news: Indonesia's COVID-19 spokesperson urges public to get fully vaccinated

Such a view is the focal point of all the efforts of Jokowi's administration to help haul the nation out of the pandemic to the better side.

The head of state called on all Indonesians to remain vigilant, continue to follow health protocols, and remain patient for coexisting with the corona virus for protracted periods of time and also for an uncertain time period.

According to the report, the government stated that at this point in time, being resilient is no longer an option, but rather a necessity or also an obligation. Having resilience to recover from the pandemic has become a new form of "patriotism" that must be born in the midst of tough times.

The government has also made efforts to encourage people to become more resilient through mitigation and adaptation measures implemented in some crucial situations during the pandemic.

Mitigation measures -- based on data, technology, and science -- adopted by the government had helped in mapping all problems as well as in making quick decisions during the pandemic.

Related news: COVID-19 vaccination inequality hinders realization of national target

Apart from relying on science and technology, synergy and consolidation across the country were crucial for the Indonesian government in handling the pandemic. In addition, solidarity among the people has been the spirit that animates all rescue efforts.

At this stage, President Jokowi has taken on the role of the highest commander to lead the lengthy battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Jokowi had emphasized the importance of strategic policies, leadership on the field, consolidation of teamwork, and direct actions on the field.

The president has monitored directly the implementation of vaccinations; availability of medicines, medical equipment and treatment rooms; and distribution of groceries to vulnerable economic groups from the start of the pandemic until now.

Currently, the outbreak in the country appears to be quite under control, but the threat still looms large.

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Hence, the government has sealed all loopholes by taking a cue from the second wave of infections caused mostly by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The surge in COVID-19 cases, which began in the middle of this year, was successfully suppressed through the implementation of tracking, testing, isolation, strict health protocols, and the acceleration of evenly distributed vaccinations.

President Jokowi has stressed that vaccination is the key to overcoming the pandemic.

Hence, the Indonesian government, which views that efforts to fight COVID-19 are impossible without fair access to vaccines, has pushed for diplomacy for equal access to vaccines for the entire nation.

Jokowi also urged local governments to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations for the community in all provinces across the country.

The president elaborated that expediting vaccinations in all Indonesian provinces was crucial to facilitate the realization of the national target of inoculating 70 percent of the total population by the end of 2021.

In fact, Jokowi's administration has made unwavering efforts to secure vaccines supplies for the people.

Related news: 66.3 million Indonesians fully vaccinated against COVID-19: task force

Provision of vaccine supplies from all countries and through various schemes -- bilateral or multilateral -- are conducted along with domestic production initiatives, one of which is the Merah Putih vaccine.

Based on records of the Committee for the Handling of COVID-19 and the National Economic Recovery (KPC-PEN), as of October 4, 2021, the government had secured a total of 280,527,920 vaccine doses comprising 219,676,280 doses of the Sinovac vaccine; 28,190,720 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine; 8,450,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine; 8,000,160 doses of Moderna vaccine; and 15,710,760 Pfizer vaccines.

However, Indonesia should not depend on vaccine supplies from abroad. In addition, global vaccine production is limited, and supply has become a bone of contention throughout the world.

To this end, national production of the Merah Putih vaccine should be started soon.

According to the 2021 Government Performance Achievement report, research collaboration between the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Airlangga University, Gadjah Mada University, Pajajaran University, Bandung Institute of Technology, and the University of Indonesia has resulted in marked progress.

The development of the vaccine derived from a variant of the COVID-19 virus in Indonesia has successfully passed preclinical trials.

Related news: Indonesia's vaccination best among non-vaccine-producing countries

Mass production of vaccines made in Indonesia is scheduled to begin in mid-2022. The vaccines made in the country are also in preparation for other outbreaks in future.

The government continues to intensify vaccination activities everywhere, from mass vaccination to door-to-door vaccinations, as well as specific vaccination for students and vulnerable groups.

On the other hand, the pandemic has also pushed Indonesia to strengthen such a self-reliant drug and medical device industry.

During the pandemic, Indonesia was recorded to be able to produce 358 types of medical devices, including oximeters, nebulizers, electrocardiograms, ventilators, high flow nasal cannula (HFNC), reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), rapid antigen tests, and rapid antibody tests.

When a spike in COVID-19 cases, triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant, had overwhelmed hospital services, fueled shortages of medicine and medical oxygen supplies, and triggered price hikes, the government moved quickly with several solutions.

Vendors are prohibited from making excessive profits, the highest retail price for drugs is strictly set, and health laws are enforced.

Meanwhile, in order to ensure the availability of medical oxygen stocks, the government opened room for imported concentrators and received assistance from several friendly countries. Domestically, industrial oxygen conversion to medical oxygen was applied.

Along with efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has also made plans for the continuation of the nation's education.

Recently, the government decided to restart direct learning at schools after a year of implementing online learning. The reopening of schools in the country is also conducted in a limited manner, with strict requirements to prevent schools from becoming new clusters of COVID-19.

The government decided to start reopening schools in order to deal with learning lags experienced by school-age children and youth. The risk of learning lags had been anticipated by the government since the closure of schools around countries in the world amid the pandemic.

Related news: Normal life begins to return, but with caveats

In Indonesia, students living in rural areas, with lack of infrastructure that hindered internet access, are more vulnerable to learning loss.

Currently, optimal collaboration between schools, parents, and students is expected to save the future of the nation's education.

In addition, the government continues to intensify the distribution of social assistance. As restrictions on mobility hit the community's economy, the government disbursed more social assistance.

Regarding educational assistance, internet quota supplies for some regions -- where public activity restrictions are applied -- are also maximized, particularly for educational institution staff members, students, teachers, and lecturers.

In addition, several social protection clusters are designed to ensure communities can continue to meet their basic needs amid the pandemic.

The government also ensures that the people can meet their food consumption and basic requirements at reasonable prices by maintaining adequate stocks and securing the food supply chain in the market.

All the above was possible through the pandemic handling efforts made in the past year by the Indonesian government under the Jokowi administration.

Such efforts were recorded in the 2021 Government Performance Achievement report titled "Indonesia Resilient, Indonesia Grows 2021".

These efforts must certainly be continued, and all elements of the nation must participate and contribute to supporting Indonesia to survive and surmount the pandemic through small steps, such as complying with health protocols.

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