JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Floods overwhelmed Jakarta and displaced nearly 1400 people from their homes, following heavy rains brought on by extreme weather.
President Joko Widodo has warned that his goal to vaccinate 182 million Indonesians to gain herd immunity against the Covid-19 pandemic will not really take effect, until the government can stockpile substantial doses of the vaccine by the middle of the year.
And Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin assured that his Ministry is stepping up efforts to find samples of the new Covid-19 strain before it enters Indonesia. Read more on this and other articles, as curated by our editors:
Jakarta Floods Displace 1,380 People
Annual floods swept through Jakarta on Saturday, February 20, even as the capital and the rest of Indonesia continues to reel from the Covid-19 pandemic. The waters, which averaged from 40 to 150 centimeters, forced 1,380 people from their homes in 200 neighborhoods. No casualties were reported.
“The majority of the 1,380 displaced persons are from 379 households in East Jakarta Municipal district,” said Regional Disaster Management Agency [BPBD] for Jakarta official Sabdo Kurnianto.
Sabdo highlighted the logistical needs of the displaced persons. “[BPBD] will need to provide [the displaced persons] with boats, food and drink, medical supplies, mattresses and blankets, as well as medical masks,” he noted.
The Indonesian Red Cross [ PMI] also provided aid for the stricken areas. “We will install food kitchens in 26 areas,” announced PMI Secretary-General Sudirman Said. “The food kitchens will provide 11,300 rice boxes and 18,500 loaves of bread.”
Meteorology and Climatology Agency [ BMKG] head Dwikorita Karnawati urged the public to beware of extreme weather patterns. She warned that “the peak of the rainy season will last until early March.”
Indonesian Covid-19 Vaccine Will Be Available in Large Numbers in Mid 2021
Indonesia will continue to stockpile Covid-19 vaccines throughout the year, in line with President Joko Widodo’s aim to vaccinate up to 182 million Indonesians against the pandemic by 2022. But the head of state admitted that the goal proved challenging.
“Currently, the number of Covid-19 vaccines is in short supply. Hopefully the stockpiles for the vaccines will be sufficient by the middle of 2021, or by the second half of the year,” said the president, who is also known as Jokowi, on Saturday, February 20.
“We hope to have at least 30-40 million doses of the vaccine by June or July.” Jokowi also noted that the 30 thousand designated vaccinators from the Ministry of Health will be reinforced by 9 thousand vaccinators from the Indonesian Police and the military.
“If we can get 40 thousand vaccinators who can inoculate 30 people, then that number will amount up to 1.2 million people.” Indonesia will also receive 4.6 million doses of the AstraZeneca, though their distribution is still deliberated by the Ministry of Health.
Jokowi also admitted that “215 countries, including Indonesia, are competing to get as many Covid-19 vaccines as they can,” he asserted. “That is why it is more imperative for us to help one another. It will also not deter us from reaching our vaccination target.” Indonesia plans to vaccinate 182 million people by 2022 to gain herd immunity from Covid-19.
The government also aims to reduce the chances of Covid-19 transmission through health protocols and aggressive testing, tracing, and treatment.
Indonesia Still Free of New Covid-19 Mutation
Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has assured that the new strain of Covid-19 has yet to make its way to Indonesia, two months after the mutation forced the government to virtually bar foreigners from entering the country.
“[The Ministry of Health’s] research has yet to find this mutation, which has been found in Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil,” he said. “We have stepped up the taking of samples from 170 throughout 2020 to 180 in January and February.”
Budi added that the Ministry of Health is collaborating with the Ministry of Research and Technology to build 12 laboratories to examine the mutation and prevent it from entering Indonesia.
“[Both ministries] are coordinating in sampling and testing for the new strain or mutation with the whole genome sequencing or partial genome sequencing methods.” Aside from Great Britain and South Africa, the new Covid-19 mutation was also found in Singapore and South Korea.