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President Widodo says pandemic has changed Indonesia’s culture

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JAKARTA The Indonesian president pledged to improve testing and treatment for COVID-19 in a speech on Monday marking the country’s independence and said the pandemic had changed Indonesian culture in a way that would provide a basis for progress .

Wearing masks, not shaking hands and avoiding crowds was once taboo, as working from home, distance learning, online meetings and online courts have become new habits that we were hesitant to make, President Joko Widodo said in the national speech marking the country’s 76th independence anniversary.

In today’s disruptive world, the spirit of change, the spirit of bringing about change and the spirit of innovation have become the basis for building an advanced Indonesia, Widodo said. With the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating innovation is now an integral part of our daily lives.

Only half of the 711 lawmakers and senators were in parliament for Widodos’ speech on the eve of Independence Day, with the others present remotely in a measure of social distancing.

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The world’s fourth most populous country hit record highs last month with daily highs of 50,000 new cases, more than five times the usual highs in June. And July was its deadliest month, with more than 30,100 deaths from COVID-19 as sick people overwhelmed hospitals or died at home or while awaiting treatment. Its totals of 3.8 million cases and 117,588 deaths are considered undercounts due to the low number of tests and poor tracing measures in the country of 270 million people.

Widodo said almost all regional leaders are working hand in hand to address health and economic issues and his administration will improve field management of testing, tracing, treatment and vaccination as well as oxygen. medical.

The availability and affordability of medicines must be guaranteed and there is no tolerance for anyone who hinders our humanitarian and national missions, Widodo said.

Once the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, Jakarta saw a decline in active and new cases from mid-July to last week, from more than 100,000 to less than 15,000 active cases per day and more from 10,000 to less than 2,500 new cases per day. daytime.

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In addition, patients were not turned away as in the past.

Restrictions on public activities, which the government attributes to helping ease pressure on hospitals, were relaxed in the capital. Authorities in Jakarta have reopened shopping malls, places of worship and outdoor sports venues since last week with some capacity limits and people must show they have been vaccinated.

While the current data is encouraging, the devastating health crisis is far from over, said Dewi Nur Aisyah, IT and data center manager of the COVID-19 national labor force. She noted that new cases of COVID-19 were skyrocketing in some provinces outside the country’s most populous island, Java, despite the restrictions.

Indonesia started aggressively vaccinating earlier than many countries in Southeast Asia. The country aims to immunize more than 208 million of its 270 million people by March 2022, but authorities have only fully vaccinated 28 million people and partially vaccinated 30.5 million others so far.

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I am fully aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it exhaustion, boredom, weariness, sadness and distress, Widodo said in his closing speech, adding that there were many criticisms. addressed to his administration, in particular on issues that have not been resolved. Again.

Constructive criticism is crucial and we always respond to it by discharging our responsibilities as intended by the people, he said.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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