Indonesia to test more people for COVID-19

first_imgThe Health Ministry has said it will now assign its regional labs to test people suspected of carrying the novel coronavirus amid concerns that it has not been proactive enough in detecting infected people to prevent its spread.The ministry, which is spearheading the battle against the lethal virus, previously insisted that only its Jakarta-based Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) be authorized to conduct throat swab tests and announce the result.The policy change was made after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday that two Indonesians, known as Case 1 and Case 2, had been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The patients, a mother and her daughter, are believed to have contracted the virus after the latter interacted with a Japanese COVID-19 patient who visited Jakarta last month.“With the first confirmed cases, we need to be able to respond faster. The tests will no longer be done in Balitbangkes only,” said the Health Ministry’s disease control and prevention directorate general secretary, Achmad Yurianto, who has been appointed as the spokesman for the handling of the virus outbreak.Read also: COVID-19: ‘People don’t need to stockpile everyday items’, Jokowi says amid panic buying spreeEnvironmental, health and technology centers (BTKL) in 10 cities — Batam, Medan, Palembang, Makassar, Manado, Ambon, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Banjarmasin — have been chosen to conduct the tests. The labs will only conduct a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is used to determine whether someone has contracted Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, Achmad said. Only Balitbangkes, he added, had the capability to conduct a gene sequencing analysys to identify the virus infecting a suspected patient if they were declared negative for coronavirus.“We will send supervisors to these centers. Now a specimen from Ambon no longer needs to be sent to Jakarta,” Achmad said.Officials will now test not only those showing COVID-19 symptoms and having recently traveled to countries affected by the virus outbreak such as China, South Korea and Iran but also those having had contact with coronavirus-positive people even though they show no symptoms.Many parties, including scientists and foreign governments, have cited the lack of tests as the primary reason Indonesia, one of the top tourist destinations for people in Wuhan, the Chinese city from which the animal virus first infected humans, could have been underreporting cases.The government has only tested samples of 155 suspected patients across the country, two of which have come back positive. For comparison, as of March 2, South Korea, which has the most COVID-19 patients outside China, has performed 109,591 tests.While it has decided to change its testing policy, the government has refused to establish a special independent committee to handle the health crisis, as demanded by a number of health experts.“There is no need for a new organization. Too much structure is confusing,” Achmad said.Doubts linger over whether the Health Ministry alone is capable of handling the crisis, or is proactive enough to detect patients, which is crucial to prevent the virus from spreading.Critics have questioned whether the ministry had been proactive in tracing people who have had contact with foreign nationals who tested positive for coronavirus and are known to have traveled to Indonesia.Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto initially claimed that the government had proactively traced Case 1, a 31-year-old woman, after being notified by Malaysia that a Japanese COVID-19 patient had visited Indonesia. He then clarified that it was the woman herself who came to the hospital to have herself checked after being informed by her friend about the Japanese woman.Achmad has dismissed such concerns, saying the government was now tracing 50 people of different nationalities who went to a restaurant where Case 1 met with the Japanese patient. “We’ve got three names. It’s not easy because the patient did not have a close relation to these people.”On Tuesday, President Jokowi called on the Indonesian people to remain calm and respect the COVID-19 patients’ privacy following his announcement of the first two confirmed cases of the disease.“The fact is that most of the patients — including those in China, Japan, Italy and Iran — have been able to recover from the disease. So we don’t have to fret but we should remain vigilant,” he said, adding that hospitals treating the patients should avoid disclosing their private information.Bayu Krisnamurthi, who headed the National Committee for Avian Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness (Komnas Flu Burung), said the country must work together to contain the virus.“We are no longer preventing the novel coronavirus from entering the country. We should now focus on containing its spread. There must be a special authority to handle this,” Bayu told The Jakarta Post on Monday.The special committee will have the authority to coordinate between related institutions. “The core issue is national health, but that’s not the only one. It involves many things: transportation, industries, scientific institutions, regional administrations and more. We need to have an authority that is specifically assigned to this, working full time to handle this because coronavirus is not a usual thing,” he said. (aly)Editor’s note:The article has been updated to clarify Achmad Yurianto’s statement on the authority of Balitbangkes.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Convicted murderer John Kei arrested for alleged attacks, murder after months released on parole

first_img“John Kei’s group, consisting of five to seven people, allegedly attacked Nus Kei’s group in Kosambi, West Jakarta. One person, identified as ER, died from stab wounds to several parts of the body,” Nana said.On the same day, the group also allegedly attacked an area in Green Lake City in Tangerang, where two people were reportedly injured. Some members of the group were allegedly involved in a shooting incident at the Australian cluster at the residential complex.Kompas.com reported that during the raid at John’s house, police confiscated 28 spears, 24 sharp weapons, two arrows, two baseball bats and 17 mobile phones.John was released in December 2019 on parole after completing two-thirds of his 12-year sentence after being found guilty by the Central Jakarta District Court in 2012 for the murder of former PT Sanex Steel director Tan Harry Tantono, also known as Ayung. The victim was found dead in a room at the Swiss-Belhotel in Sawah Besar district, Central Jakarta on Jan. 26, 2012.John Kei was said to have violated Article 340 in conjunction with Article 55 of the Criminal Code. He once filed an appeal but the Supreme Court increased his sentence to 16 years.After being granted remission, he was expected to be released in 2025, but has reportedly been qualified for parole since December last year.Responding to the incident, Rika Aprianti, a spokesperson for the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s Corrections Directorate General confirmed that John Kei had been released on parole since December, during which he was supervised under the guidance of the ministry’s correctional facility department.The ministry will coordinate with the police regarding the case. She said a hearing would be conducted afterward.“From the hearing, [we] will decide what kind of measure [we] will apply to John Kei,” Rika said in a statement on Monday. (asp)Topics : The Jakarta Police have arrested infamous thug John Kei for allegedly masterminding attacks in two places that claimed a life and injured two others, months after he was released on parole for murder.John Kei, or John Refra, was arrested on Sunday along with 24 of his men in his house on Jl. Tytyan Indah Utama X at 8:15 p.m. on Sunday, Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said as quoted by tempo.co.The men were accused of being involved in two separate attacks in Tangerang, Banten and West Jakarta. Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Nana Sudjana said John allegedly ordered his men to murder Nus Kei and a member of his gang, identified only as ER, over discrepancies from land sales.The order was revealed when investigators checked the mobile phone of one of his men. John also allegedly sent a threatening message prior to the attack.“Upon checking the cell phone of the perpetrator, we found an order from John Kei to his men. There is indication of a plan to murder Nus Kei and ER,” Nana said in a press conference on Monday as reported by kompas.com.ER died after being stabbed by a sharp weapon in an attack in Kosambi, Cengkareng district in West Jakarta on Sunday.last_img read more

Budget Briefing: Schools that Teach

first_imgBudget Briefing: Schools that Teach SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Budget News,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Pennsylvania is at a crossroads. We can fund our schools and fix our deficit or we will be faced with an additional $1 billion in cuts to education funding. Governor Wolf is fighting to restore the cuts made by the previous administration, but inaction by the Republican-controlled legislature has left us with underfunded schools and a ballooning deficit. If we build on a bipartisan budget agreement by increasing school funding we can take on the status quo and finally give our students the resources they need to succeed. If we fail to invest in our schools, we will see larger class sizes, teacher layoffs, and skyrocketing property taxes.FAILURE TO ACTIt is time for the legislature to recognize the fiscal problem facing Pennsylvania and work with Governor Wolf to honestly eliminate the deficit. A failure to acknowledge our fiscal crisis will result in an additional $1 billion cut to education:Thousands of Teacher LayoffsThousands of teachers, guidance counselors, and career counselors will be laid off if the legislature fails to honestly address our deficit. In all, more than 23,000 education professionals could be forced out of Pennsylvania schools unless we take real steps to fix our unbalanced budget.Increasingly Crowded ClassroomsAcross Pennsylvania, already strained classrooms will become even more crowded. Class sizes will balloon by 30 percent as a result of teacher layoffs. Worse, the consequences will not be evenly distributed – classroom crowding will be most severe in the schools that can least afford it. But all across our commonwealth, our children will receive less attention, less instructional time, and less opportunity to gain the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century workforce.Program Cuts Technical education programs, special education programs, and Head Start programs will all face cuts if we fail to address Pennsylvania’s fiscal crisis.Eliminate Pre-K Tens of thousands of Pennsylvania children will lose access to pre-kindergarten, depriving them of early childhood education that we know is key to their future success.CHOOSING A RESPONSIBLE PATHGovernor Wolf’s 2016-2017 Budget presents a responsible path forward that will eliminate our deficit and fund our schools. We can choose this path that addresses our deficit to avoid critical program cuts and teacher layoffs and makes smart investments in schools to make sure our children are receiving the education they deserve.Significant Investments in EducationGovernor Wolf’s 2016-2017 Budget proposes that the state take its rightful share of the responsibility for funding our schools with real sources of revenue. Governor Wolf’s 2016-2017 Budget provides for:A $200 million (3.3 percent) increase in the Basic Education Subsidy. This increase above the assumed $377 million increase in 2015-­16, will be distributed using the Fair Funding Formula that was created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015. The formula provides sufficient, predictable and equitable funding for school districts across the commonwealth, and includes student-­based factors like the number of children in the district who live in poverty or who are enrolled in charter schools, as well as district-­based factors such as the wealth of the district, the district’s current tax effort and the ability of the district to raise revenue.A $50 million (4.6 percent) increase in the Special Education Subsidy. This increase, in addition to the assumed $50 million increase in 2015-­16, will continue Pennsylvania’s transition to the funding formula enacted in 2015 to reflect the work of the bipartisan Special Education Funding Commission.A $60 million (30.5 percent) increase in high­-quality early childhood education. This funding increase builds upon the assumed $60 million investment in 2015­-16 to enroll about 14,000 children in Pennsylvania Pre-­K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. In 2003, Pennsylvania joined the ranks of states that offer full-­day pre­kindergarten for 3-­ and 4-­year olds. Currently, only 30 percent of Pennsylvania children in families earning up to three times the federal poverty level – or $72,750 for a family of four – are enrolled in high ­quality pre­-k programs.Building a Bridge from High School to College and CareersPreparation for high-­skill careers must start long before most students even begin to think about college and careers. Fewer than half of Pennsylvania’s citizens have a college degree or industry-recognized certification. By 2025, roughly 60 percent of good­-paying, reliable jobs in the state will require these credentials. Across the nation, employers report difficulty finding qualified applicants and incur training costs for workers who lack necessary skills. To ensure that the next generation of Pennsylvanians ̶ those currently in middle school and high school – are prepared for the jobs of the future, we must begin to close the gap today.Over the next decade, Pennsylvania will seek to make a college degree or high-­value industry-recognized certification available to at least 650,000 additional commonwealth residents. The 2016­-17 Budget invests in programs that continue to modernize Career and Technical Education in Pennsylvania.The 2016­-17 Budget provides:$15 million in additional support for the establishment and expansion of high­-quality Career and Technical Education programs to prepare students for success in today’s economy. School districts, Career and Technology Centers, higher education institutions, employers and labor organizations can work together through public-private partnerships to train students for high ­priority occupations that pay a living wage and offer a career ladder for growth opportunities.Students will have the opportunity to earn college credit and industry credentials while participating in work-based learning.$5 million for Career and Technical Education Equipment Grants to support updating or purchasing new equipment used in the training of students. Priority will be given to Career and Technical Education grant applicants that show an in ­kind or monetary contribution from employers or other partners.$8 million to help school districts offer college and career counseling in middle and high schools to develop pathways to higher education and high-­skill careers.Reinvesting in Pennsylvania’s Institutions of Higher LearningThe 2016-­17 Budget reinvests in higher education by continuing Governor Wolf’s commitment to a four­-year restoration of the damaging cuts to our colleges and universities. In addition, the budget supports programs that help to achieve the goal of 60 percent of Pennsylvanians with a degree or high-value certificate by 2025.The combined funding increases in 2015-­16 and 2016-­17 for our higher education delivery system are as follows:Community Colleges. A $22.1 million increase for Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to achieve the degree, certificate or certification goals.PASSHE. A $42.3 million increase for the 14 universities that are part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.State­-Related Universities. A $59.7 million increase for Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University. These resources will encourage innovation by helping the four public universities translate research into job creation. Read more posts about Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf February 09, 2016last_img read more