Suppliers battling their own new waves . . .
Indonesia was among the first countries in the Asia Pacific region to begin a country-wide vaccination campaign in January, and President Joko Widodo had aimed to vaccinate 181.5 million people (70 per cent of the population) within 12 months. However, Jakarta’s plans have been impeded by delays in vaccine delivery as producer countries – like India – battle their own COVID waves. To date, Indonesia has administered only 15 million doses, with around five million people fully vaccinated. While down from its peak, Indonesia has over 1.5 million cumulative cases as of April 14 and has averaged 5,000 new cases a day for the past two weeks.
Second Ramadan amid the pandemic . . .
Experts anticipate a spike in cases as Indonesia celebrates the holy month of Ramadan starting on Tuesday, albeit with limited social and religious gatherings. While the government has permitted places of worship to hold prayers at 50 per cent capacity, such activities remain banned in regions experiencing high and moderate rates of infection. Like last year, the federal government has also prohibited mudik, the annual exodus when people travel to their hometowns to celebrate the Idul Fitri holiday at the end of Ramadan. The Indonesian Health Ministry will continue the vaccine rollout throughout the holy month, ramping up vaccination for the elderly and providing jabs at night to accommodate for the physical wellbeing of devotees who fast during the day.
Return to school on the line . . .
Indonesia’s Education Ministry wants to resume in-person classes in July under strict health and hygiene protocols, mainly to prevent a generation of children from falling behind due to limited or no schooling for nearly a year. Parents, teachers, and public health experts are concerned about the hasty return to school, particularly as children under 18, who have not been approved to be vaccinated, comprise 12 per cent of domestic cases. Despite the concern, the Ministry plans to push ahead, noting a worrying increase in school dropout rates and mental health issues among students, particularly in low-income families with limited to no internet access.
- Australian Financial Review: Third wave slows vaccinations in Indonesia
- Channel News Asia: Indonesia Muslims begin Ramadan with social distanced prayers, COVID-19 vaccines
- Nikkei Asia: Indonesia to tap China, US, to cover for AstraZeneca vaccine delay