KOMPAS.com – Indonesia will continue to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination program during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan throughout the country in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The government also confirmed that the E484K mutation, nicknamed “Eek” by some scientists, was found in Indonesia earlier this year, even before the more high-profile B.1.1.7 strain was traced in March.
While the country is struggling to cope with the Covid-19, efforts to accelerate its economic recovery continues. The government will disburse the Covid-19 stimulus package worth 400 billion rupiahs ($27.6 million) for the Indonesian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on April 20.
Below are excerpts from the stories in Indonesia, curated by Kompas.com editors:
Covid-19 Vaccination Program Continues during Ramadan: Indonesia's Ministry of Health
The Covid-19 jab drive will continue to take place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan throughout Indonesia, an official confirmed on Monday, April 5.
A spokesperson for the Covid-19 Mass Vaccination Program of the Ministry of Health Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that the fatwa (edict) of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) No. 13/2021 on the Covid-19 Vaccination Law mentioned that it is permissible for the Muslims who fast to receive the Covid-19 vaccine as the vaccination will not break the fast.
"The fatwa is stated that the government can carry out the vaccination program in the month of Ramadan to prevent the transmission of Covid-19," said Nadia on Monday.
Nadia went on to say that the vaccination could be carried out during the day. She explained that fasting provides health benefits or detoxification.
"I believe that even though we fast, the vaccine will not give side effects to the body," she said.
Furthermore, Nadia said there was no special preparation from the government to carry out vaccinations in the month of Ramadan. However, she said, adequate rest and pre-dawn meal by eating a balanced nutritious diet are recommended before one gets vaccinated in the month of Ramadan.
"We will still carry out the vaccination from morning to afternoon. Maybe it can also be done in the evening at the mosque as long as it will not disturb the worship during the month of Ramadan," she said.
E484K Covid-19 Strain Detected in Indonesia
Indonesia continues to deal with more strains of Covid-19, after a case testing positive for the E484K mutation was found in the country earlier this year.
The authorities found the case, a month before the more high-profile B.1.1.7 strain was traced last March to Indonesian migrant workers returning from Saudi Arabia.
“Researchers from the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology traced the E484K strain last February to an individual in Jakarta,” said Indonesian Ministry of Health spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi on Monday, April 4.
"The person has since been confirmed to recover [from Covid-19]. We have yet to determine if the individual contracted [the E484K Covid-19 strain] during an overseas trip or not.”
Nadia added that E484K or ‘Eek’ is “one of an estimated 10 to 17 mutations of the B.1.1.7 strain of Covid-19. While these strains might influence the efficacy of the vaccine, studies in South Africa indicated that all [coronavirus] vaccines can still effectively treat them.”
Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito reiterated Nadia. He noted that the mutation originated in a protein spike from the B.1.1.7 strain found in Brazil and South Africa.
“Recent research has shown that E484K has a high transmission rate. The government will intensify its whole genome sequencing efforts to determine which Covid-19 strains are found in Indonesia,” Wiku added.
“This includes maintaining the screening process for foreign nationals and Indonesian citizens alike who are entering Indonesia.”
Indonesia to Disburse $27.6 Million Stimulus Payments for MSMEs April 20, Says Senior Minister
In efforts to accelerate national economic recovery, the government continues to disburse the Covid-19 stimulus package worth 400 billion rupiahs ($27.6 million) for the Indonesian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) this month.
“I was informed that the demand [for fund assistance] continues to increase, and the stimulus package worth 400 billion rupiahs for the MSMEs will be disbursed on April 20,” said Coordinating Maritime and Investment Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan during the opening of “UKM Jabar Paten” event which was held virtually on Saturday, April 3.
Last year, the government has distributed fund assistance worth 2.4 million rupiahs ($165) to each recipient in the MSME sector.
However, the amount will be cut in half this year and will be given to 12.8 million MSMEs.
Besides MSMEs, the government will also assist worth two trillion rupiahs ($138.2 million) for the tourism sector in June.
“In June or July, a total of two trillion rupiahs will be distributed to the Proud Tourism of Indonesia program as one of the steps to build our economy stronger,” Luhut said.