Helping out journalists when they need it

What I wrote in the Maverick blog today. Journalists are getting Covid and this causes many of them financial difficulties.

Many companies expect their help in publicising their messages in good times. Now when times are tough, they need out help

How to get vaccinated if you’re a senior foreigner in Jakarta

There have been some confusion whether foreign residents in Indonesia are eligible to be vaccinated under the Government’s program covering certain groups including seniors (that 60 and above).

What nudged me to get vaccinated was a message from a friend who was married to a foreigner, saying that her expatriate husband got vaccinated at the Board for Development and Empowerment Human Health Resources (BPP SDM Kemkes) in Kebayoran Baru.

All that was needed was for you bring along your KTP (Identity card). No need for P+as sports, KITAP etc.

The room where you wait to get tested

So this morning I trooped to the place early. By 8am, their opening time, there were already dozens of people there seeking vaccination.

I showed my KTP to a couple of officials at the entrance and was directed into a hall where you get registered for vaccination. There are two groups here. Those who booked for a vaccination via and those walk ins like me.

The registration process was orderly and quite efficient with a name being called every 2 minutes or so. When my turn came there was a complication because they saw that the entry under citizenship in my KTP was not Indonesian.

Confusion, an official was called. He took a photo of my KTP and said he’d check. Then nothing happened. he disappeared.

Finally, I approached one of the officers to explain my situation. A bit more confusion but when the supervisor was traced down she said it wasn’t a problem for foreigners to be vaccinated.

So I registered, that took all off 3 minutes and went to the next section where they took down your details, asked you a list of questions on whether you have any underlying conditions, and had your blood pressure taken.

You then move to a nearby table and there two nurses gave you the vaccine shot.

This is where you get your shot

Then its to the “Observation Room” where, if you don’t faint or transform into an ogre, they call your name after 30 minutes or so. You get your forms from them and go into the adjacent room where you get your vaccination certificate.

There is one more step after this and its to set an appointment for your second jab. They had an officer there with an iPad to do that. All very fast. Once you agree on date and time and she keys it in, you almost instantaneously get a Whatsapp message on the details of your next appointment, complete with a barcode for the officials to scan when you come next.

The Observation Room

Apparently that center vaccinates about 1,000 people per day. Throughout I found the process was very efficient and the officials polite and informative. The social distancing could be better but no cause for alarm.

So good job Kementerian Kesehatan and the officials who work there. Apparently they vaccinate about 1,000 people per day. And thanks Indonesia for the vaccine.

End of Week 17 of Work from home

Today is the last day of Week 17 of our working from home and I’ve decided to start writing in this blog again to chronicle what’s going on around us.

While its easy to be snarky about the government’s handling of the pandemic, I’ll refrain from doing so and try to keep things to observations, inferences and thoughts about events as they unfold.

Yesterday we saw a record high of 2,657 recorded cases of COVID in Indonesia. The official national tally stood at 70,736.

There is widespread belief that these figures represent only a fraction of the true tally for many reasons. The government’s inadequacy to test, bureaucratic fumbling, and social stigma against COVID deaths. Many stories about how families persuade hospitals to classify the cause of death as something else instead of COVID.

The situation is that nobody knows exactly the extent of the pandemic in Indonesia. If you were cynical you could say that this is exactly the Government would do – keep people in the dark – if it has given up other means and decided that herd immunity is the only course for Indonesia.

The spike in new recorded cases also coincides with a fortnight after the government announced an easing to social distancing rules. The phrase they bandy about is New Normal, leading many people to think that its now safe to get back to life as normal, perhaps with the addition of wearing a mask. So many people have been getting together, going to restaurants, prayers and other events involving many people in confined spaces.

Indonesia, it seems to me, is on a slow burn to disaster. The first wave has not crested and it will likely roll on for a very long time. So instead of the sharp and short impact of lockdowns followed by easing, we have an uneasy quasi, semi-lockdown that might go on and on.

We have been monitoring the news each day to see what the Government says and does to control the pandemic. After all these months the exercise breeds cynicism and ennui.

President Jokowi, who was so full of promise and able to get things done on his first term, seels to have lost his mojo in his second term, which starts roughly just before the pandemic struck.

He is reduced to futile exhortations, empty threats to reshuffle the Cabinet, scolding the ministers but all of it seemingly falling on deaf ears because the does not follow up on his threats or show that there is any consequences of not following his orders.

So we slouch toward an uncertain fate.