JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto continues his efforts to reach out to foreign militaries to modernize and forge closer defense links, as he dropped by London to meet British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
Indonesia is taking prevention of Covid-19 past vaccinations, after the Food and Drug Agency or BPOM approved use of a Russian medication to treat Covid-19 symptoms on recovering coronavirus survivors.
And the government has prohibited the annual beloved homecoming tradition for the Eid al-Fitr or Idul Fitri Islamic holiday, in a bid to break the chain of transmission and avoid a surge in cases from holiday travelers similar to the Christmas and New Year’s year-end holidays.
This and more on Indonesia Highlights:
Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Meets His British Counterpart
Indonesian Minister of Defense continues his efforts to bolster bilateral military relations with other countries, as he met his British counterpart Ben Wallace MP from March 22 to 24.
“The ministers touched on bolstering relations between the Indonesian and British militaries. They also touched on cooperation at the regional and global levels,” said Indonesian Ministry of Defense spokesman Dahnil Simandjuntak, as quoted by the Antara State News Agency Friday.
“Prabowo also attended the Joint Defence Cooperation Dialogue, which touched on military training as well as the procurement of modern defense systems since it was first held in 2019. The meeting also highlighted the overall good bilateral relations between Indonesia and Britain.”
Aside from the United States, the two-time presidential hopeful was also banned from entering Great Britain due to his role in human rights violations in the last months of his father-in-law Soeharto’s rule in 1998.
These include the kidnapping of activists as well as the killing of four students from Trisakti University in Jakarta, which triggered the May 1998 riots in the runup to Soeharto’s downfall.
Indonesia’s BPOM Approves Russian Covid-19 Medication
Indonesia is taking further steps to contain Covid-19, as the Food and Drug Agency or BPOM “has issued the emergency use authorization or EUA for Avifavir a Russian-made Covid-19 medication,” said the Agency’s spokesperson Lucia Rizka.
She added that the medication, which is manufactured by the ChemRar pharmaceutical group and the Russian Direct Investment [RDIF] group. BPOM registered Avivafir, which is based on favipravir, a Japanese experimental antiviral drug that is used to treat flu symptoms.
RDIF Director Kirill Dmitriev hailed BPOM’s decision.
“The Indonesian [medical authorities] have expressed their confidence in Avifavir, as they registered the medication without further clinical tests,” he said, as quoted by the Russia Beyond the Headlines [RBTH] media outlet last Tuesday.
“Avifavir has a very high efficiency [rate], as it can significantly reduce the [patient’s] recovery time. In doing so, it can ease the burden of medical facilities.”
In its EUA, BPOM said Avifavir is designated for people from the ages of 18 and up “who are experiencing mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms. "
Russia has supplied Avifavir to 15 countries, including Indonesia, since June 2020. Moscow said the medication showed efficacy rates of 80 percent or more. Avifavir’s creators claimed that regular consumption of the medication can eliminate the Covid-19 virus in four days.
Indonesia Prohibits Travels for Eid-al Fitr Holidays in 2021
The Indonesian government officially prohibited holiday travel during the Islamic Eid-al Fitr or Idul Fitri festivities.
Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy explained that the the ban is designed “to break the increased chain of transmission and rising Covid-19 death toll over the holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day at the end of the year,” he said.
“The prohibition is also intended to optimize the government’s Covid-19 vaccination drive. The ban on the [Idul Fitri] holidays applies to civil servants, military and police personnel, as well as state-owned enterprises [BUMN], from May 6 to May 17,” Muhadjir added.
“The prohibition also applies to professionals in the private sector, freelance and contract workers, and the public at large. While the rule is particularly in force from, we advise the public not to travel before, during and after this period unless there is an emergency.”
Muhadjir asserted that the collective leave for Eid-al Fitr still applies on the first day of the festivities on May 13. Regional leaders like East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa and Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria agreed with the central government’s step.
“[The holiday travel ban] helps keep the number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia from increasing. The timing is just right, as it comes as bed occupancy rates or BOR in hospitals, as well as [Covid-19] positivity rates nationwide are declining,” Khofifah said.
Riza reiterated Khofifah. “Even though we are not going to head [to our hometowns] for the holidays, [smart]phones, WhatsApp, video calls and other technology can make up for the experience.”
The Idul Fitri tradition of holiday travel is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, comparable to the Lunar New Year in China or Thanksgiving and Christmas in the United States.
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