E-sports provide solace for Indonesian sports fans during COVID-19 quarantine

first_imgAt the time of the league’s postponement, Liverpool had secured 82 points from 29 matches. The team only needed to play nine more matches to complete the entirety of the 2019/2020 season.To soothe his yearning for his club’s physical appearance, Hagi took matters into his own hands and played the popular soccer simulation game Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) as his favorite team. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing him and most other workers around the world to work from home for the past three weeks, Hagi said that spending down time playing the video game version of his team at least gave him a measure of solace.Hagi is not alone in this struggle, more and more people are turning to video games or flocking online to play collectively, which provides a sweet escape from the dead-end feeling that most have experienced during this extended period of self-isolation.The Jakarta administration announced on Tuesday that it would impose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) beginning on Friday, three weeks after it introduced a myriad of physical distancing and de facto quarantine measures on its people. The city is currently the national epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. For many people, PES and other such games categorized as electronic sports (e-sports) have given them an outlet to kill the boredom and cabin fever that they experience as a result of the quarantine and physical-distancing measures.An active e-sports player, 23-year-old Muhammad Pratama said he spent hours upon hours playing his favorite games during the quarantine period, something that would have been impossible before the work-from-home policy was imposed.“Normally, I play two to three hours in a day, but now during this quarantine I can play from morning to evening or even up to the next morning,” he told the Post this week. “While working from home, I usually take about 15 minutes to play a game while [I work on] my project. So, after I finish one, I play another game before I continue [onto another project].”A variety of games has become Pratama’s source of entertainment during self-isolation, from mobile games he plays on his smartphone like Mobile Legend and Call of Duty, to PC-based games such as Rocket League, Overwatch and Defense of the Ancients (DotA). He also plays sports games like FIFA 20 on his Playstation 4 gaming console.As his fellow online gamer friends come from various age groups, Pratama said he even set up a schedule to play with each group virtually.“If I play with friends my age who also have to work from home, we usually play from maghrib [evening prayers] until midnight. But if we’re strong enough, we continue until dawn,” he said.“Whereas with the younger players, most of whom are my brother’s [high school] friends, we play in the afternoon.”Quarantine measures and self-isolation have become the norm around the world as means to contain the spread of COVID-19, pushing the number of users of gaming service platforms up at an unprecedented rate.PC gaming service Steam, for instance, recorded a new high in simultaneous user numbers, with 23.5 million users coming online all at once on March 30, AFP reports.Professional sporting competitions have also made use of the quarantine measures to explore the expansive world of e-sports and engage with their fans. The world’s premier motorcycle competition MotoGP organized its first virtual race featuring top riders like Marc Marquez on March 29.The race, which was eventually won by Repsol Honda rider Alex Marquez, managed to attract 3 million viewers, with “more than 2.5 million interactions […] made with content related to the Virtual Race,” according to information collated from the MotoGP website.The resulting enthusiasm for the Virtual Race helped spawn a second Virtual Race, due to be held on April 12.The NBA has also jumped on the e-sports bandwagon by organizing a basketball tournament for its players to be played exclusively on NBA2K, a basketball simulation game, during quarantine.Played on the Xbox One video game console, the tournament features 16 real NBA players including Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls’ Zach Levine, according to an NBA press release.The winner of the tournament will have the opportunity to donate US$100,000, the tournament’s grand prize, to a charity of their choosing that supports the mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.Topics : For avid soccer fan Hagi Pradita, the 2019/2020 season of the English Premier League (EPL) was the best chance for his beloved club Liverpool FC to lift the nation’s most coveted league trophy once again, after having suffered a long dry silverware spell on the sport’s home turf.So, when the league was postponed indefinitely last month as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hagi was downcast as he knew very well that his team just needed to secure two more victories to come out as English soccer champion.“I miss watching soccer and I really wanted to see Liverpool win the EPL this season. It has yet to win the league in 20 years,” the 25-year-old told The Jakarta Post earlier this week, noting the last time Liverpool won the then-First Division title was back in the 1989/1990 season.last_img read more

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Pampered Kuwaitis quibble in five-star quarantine

first_img Plush hotels have turned into quarantine shelters, preparing to host around 60,000 Kuwaitis returning from countries including Italy, Germany, Iran, Egypt and Lebanon.The first batch arrived two weeks ago, and for some accustomed to the best in life, their accommodation has proven less than satisfactory. ‘Salad with no dressing’  “Dear minister of finance, the food has no taste, it is inedible and we’re throwing it away,” one woman, who did not reveal her face, said in a video uploaded online.”We are emotionally tired, and our health is deteriorating because the food is not nutritious,” she added as she examined catering trays delivered to her hotel room.”They served us salad with no dressing, and everything else is also dry.”Her comments prompted a backlash online with some saying she should be grateful.”I stayed in a hospital for a week with my mother and did not complain, eating bread and cheese,” one Twitter user fired back. Another uploaded footage of people in a developing country standing in line to drink water.”If only they saw how we opened our fridge to choose the (brand of) water we want. God, don’t deny us your generosity,” read the sarcastic caption. Kuwait, which pumps 2.7 million barrels of oil per day, has a sovereign wealth fund worth more than $600 billion, providing a substantial cushion for state finances.Many of its 1.5 million citizens, who make up just 30 percent of the population, have become accustomed to a life of luxury, especially in Europe where some own palaces and supercars.One in ten Kuwaitis is a dollar millionaire — a fact proudly announced by the state airline on flight approaches to Kuwait City.In one social media video, a Kuwaiti man complains that his luggage has not yet reached the hotel room, which he describes as small with “the bed stuck to the closet”. In another, a woman says there is “more fat than I like in my meat”.Another quarantine guest said it was taking room service “too long to clean a coffee stain on the couch”. ‘Can you be patient?’Kuwait has in the past few weeks passed strict regulations to curb the spread of the deadly virus that has claimed more than 75,000 lives worldwide.It has prosecuted more than 100 people for breaking the dusk to dawn curfew or quarantine rules, with offenders facing up to six months in jail or a 10,000 dinar ($32,000) fine. On Tuesday it announced a lockdown on two areas that are densely populated with expatriate workers.Meanwhile, Kuwait’s cabinet said anyone caught intentionally spreading the virus could face up to 10 years in prison and a 30,000 dinar fine.The government has also said it will not tolerate online sarcasm or ridicule of the precautionary measures.In one case a citizen returning from Germany posted a video mocking flight attendants in protective gear likening them to “beekeepers”. Some responded online, calling for calm and support for those on the frontline of the pandemic, including air crews.Kuwaiti parliamentarian Ahmed Nabil al-Fadel urged people to be patient and see the bigger picture.”It’s very common that the sink does not work properly or that there are some problems… given the short period of time to prepare the place,” Fadel, who was also quarantined after returning from Spain, said of quarantine facilities.”Can you be patient? There are doctors who have not slept in three days.”center_img The meat is too fatty and the staff are slow to clean up coffee stains — some Kuwaitis quarantined in five-star hotels due to the coronavirus outbreak have a litany of complaints.Authorities in the oil-rich country have forced citizens returning from abroad to isolate for 14 days in luxury properties before they are permitted to re-enter society.Kuwait has adopted the strictest measures in the Gulf to combat the spread of coronavirus. It has recorded more than 700 cases, and one death. Topics :last_img read more

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Belgian coronavirus survivor leaves hospital after turning 100

first_imgA 100th birthday is an occasion to celebrate in the best of times. During a coronavirus epidemic that has cut a swathe through Europe’s elderly and vulnerable, it proved inspirational.On Wednesday, staff and well-wishers at the Bois de l’Abbaye hospital in eastern Belgium took a moment to salute newly-minted centenarian Julia Dewilde. Dewilde’s story seems to have done her hard-pressed carers good, too, providing a moment of triumph in a tough season for nurses and doctors beset with the pandemic.”She’s one of our greatest successes. It’s heartwarming,” said Laura Bertrand, the nurse who has followed Dewilde’s case since she was admitted to the hospital in Seraing, outside Liege.Like many other retirees, the centenarian was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus infection and breathing difficulties in mid-April and admitted to hospital.She developed a bacterial infection as well, that needed antibiotic treatment, and was re-hydrated and given oxygen to alleviate her respiratory problems. But she was not intubated and was never transferred to the intensive care unit.Instead, after 19 days during which she clocked up 100 years on earth, she gradually recovered and eventually passed a test confirming her recovery.With 11.5 million inhabitants and 7,500 coronavirus deaths — mainly among those older than 75 — Belgium is per capita one of the worst hit countries.But the small kingdom’s figures are more up to date than many of its neighbors, with those who die in retirement homes — around half of the fatalities — counted in the latest official toll. The retiree, who was born during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1920, celebrated her birthday at the weekend, four days before a test confirmed her recovery from COVID-19 and she was allowed to return to her retirement home.There, she will at last be allowed a visit from her loved ones.”Yes, they’ll come tomorrow,” she exclaimed, as she was wheeled out of the hospital to the cheers of staff and the clicks of journalists’ cameras.    “I’ll see them tomorrow. It will do me good.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

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Generation Z: Creative and committed, against the virus

first_imgWith their art, technology know-how, creative social networking skills or political commitment, post-millennials, known as Generation Z, have found their own ways to help others through the coronavirus lockdown.From Colombia to Senegal, Malaysia to North Macedonia, AFP talked to a group of 15- to 24-year-olds, who put their energy and skills to use within their communities, contributing perhaps to shaping the post-virus world.Only history will tell if they’ll become the “Coronavirus Generation”, forever marked at a formative time in their lives by the pandemic, which brought more than half the planet to a standstill. Interrupted revolutions From Hong Kong to Santiago and in other cities too, the epidemic forced the temporary suspension of demonstrations for change by pro-democracy movements.But, says 24-year-old Camila, from Chile, they’re only on pause.Preferring not to divulge her surname, she said that she had taken part in protests against social inequality in her country since the end of October.”This government prefers to risk seeing you die than to see its companies suffer losses,” she claimed.In the face of exploding unemployment in the poorest parts of the Chilean capital, Santiago, some residents have already defied the lockdown to demonstrate and call for food aid.And, warns Camila, when the pandemic is over, many will take to the streets again because they have lost a loved one and the government didn’t look after them. Topics : Solidarity beyond the smartphone”If I don’t volunteer and those like me don’t volunteer, then who will?”, asks Malak Sabah, 24.In her high visibility vest, she has been the linchpin of an initiative to sanitize the streets of Lebanon’s overcrowded Wavel Palestinian refugee camp, where she grew up.  The art of isolation Art has helped some youngsters overcome the confines of lockdown and health conditions while living in small apartments.Wan Jamila Wan Shaiful Bahri, a 17-year-old autistic painter from Malaysia, devoted her time to creating her Our Heroes series in tribute to front-line workers.”I compile all the stories I saw in the daily news regarding coronavirus,” she told AFP, from her studio at her home just outside Kuala Lumpur.Better known under the name Artjamila, the teen proudly showed one of her canvasses, depicting people dressed in blue, with big, dark eyes looking worried above their masks.One of her works was selected for a health ministry awareness campaign. More than 10,000 kilometers away in North Macedonia, high school student Eva Stojcevska found a way to keep her passion for drama alive, despite performances being cancelled.To save her school’s annual cultural festival, the 16-year-old from Skopje and her friends reorganized it on Facebook instead where several dozen people took to the virtual stage for live shows.With more than 40,000 views and rave reviews, it “turned out a lot better than expected,” she said.center_img Drones and 3-D printing Jose Otero, a 22-year-old Venezuelan living in Colombia, has come up with what he describes as a low-cost drone to beat the travel restrictions by carrying medicine and test results around the northern city of Barranquilla.”They used to tell us that we had to separate ourselves from technological devices or telephones because that separated us,” he said.”On the contrary, right now it is what unites us.”In Senegal, engineering student Ibrahima Cisse, 23, and his friends at Dakar’s ESP Polytechnic Higher School built a special bicycle equipped with a rear-end loud speaker for sharing preventative information and a hand sanitizer dispenser.He said that they were learning how to be useful through initiatives that take into account the environment, people’s needs and reducing costs.”We’re in a poor country and you shouldn’t think of extravagant projects,” he said.At 15, Romeo Estezet, a Paris high school student, has made his bedroom into a 3-D printing workshop and is turning out 80 protective visors a day.”My dream is to show other young people the usefulness and, above all, the ease of this technology, which puts the production of objects within everyone’s reach” especially in a crisis, he said. As for the future?As well as feelings of injustice and, at times, anger, the young people that AFP met expressed great optimism and hope that positive lessons will be learned from the unprecedented crisis.”I hope that, in future, people will be more aware of their health, more aware for the environment around them and understand that even their smallest steps can influence everyone,” said Stojcevska, emphasizing the looming climate threat for future generations.Badi, the sportsman, longs for society to be more focused on equality and social cohesion.”We realize that certain jobs, usually neglected, in the end are more important,” he said, referring to how there would have been nothing to eat without cashiers showing up for work during lockdown.However, for many young people the pandemic has made their economic futures more uncertain.According to an International Labor Organization study, the 15- to 24-year-olds are already the main victims of the economic slump, with one in six out of work.As the world faces historic economic and social costs from the pandemic, Sabah, the refugee, knows that hard times still lie ahead.”But they won’t last forever,” she said. Worried that some were not taking the risk seriously enough after the first COVID-19 case in the camp, an awareness campaign was launched, Sabah said.”It’s a hidden virus, you can’t deal with it with physical strength, it requires awareness, knowledge and protection,” she told AFP.Having always known a world connected by the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon, this generation understands the power of social networks in getting a message across, Walid Badi, a French professional handball player, said.Not only that, but these young people also realize they’re best placed “to help the most vulnerable”, the 24-year-old, who lives in Ivry-sur-Seine near Paris, said.The health crisis demonstrated that “we’re not just good for staying at home, hooked to our smartphones, but are deeply rooted in reality,” he added.While competitions were off the cards during confinement, he used the time to step up action through his Solidaritess association in aid of the homeless, distributing clothes to the “forgotten” in the capital’s suburbs.last_img read more

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Woman harassed by vigilantes for alleged theft in Aceh

first_imgA video showing a woman being harassed by men after she was allegedly caught stealing at Ulee Gle market in Bandar Dua district, Pidie Jaya regency, Aceh, went viral on Wednesday.The video, first uploaded by Facebook user Cici Unae, showed dozens of men crowding around and shouting at a middle-aged woman. Some forcibly removed her hijab, while others held her arms down and cut her hair with a kitchen knife. The woman was crying.Other men were seen standing around the crowd and recording the incident with their mobile phones. He added that the woman was with a 4-year-old whose identity was unknown.Faisal confirmed the mob vigilantism, which took place before the police arrived at the location.Read also: Crime surges as restrictions easedYL testified to the police that she was part of a group of thieves operating in Pidie Jaya and that two men had brought her to the market earlier. “We have detained the woman at the police station and are pursuing the two men,” said Faisal.The police managed to seize Rp 5 million (US$355) in cash as evidence, as well as other foreign banknotes including euro, Malaysian ringgit, Saudi riyal and Thai baht. In addition, the police secured eight mobile phones and a car.Some social media users condemned the mob harassment of YL and urged the police to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice.Menyesal lihat video ini di TL,,, melihat perlakuan sekumpulan laki² yg melukai rasa kemanusiaan— gshat46zuntag (@gshat) June 17, 2020″I regret ever watching the video on my Twitter timeline, seeing these men hurting humanity,” Twitter user @gshat tweeted.para ‘eksekutornya’ saya yakin sekali juga pernah mencuri & melakukan kejahatan lain, tapi ga ketauan, eh ini nyiksa orang udah merasa paling suci :(— ig @abintangtimur (@bintangbete) June 17, 2020″I am sure these people have done terrible things too, although no one has caught them yet. They tortured others as if they were saints,” user @bintangbete wrote. (trn)Topics : The video was posted on Twitter by user @kondekturbus_ on Wednesday. It had been retweeted more than 650 times as of noon on Thursday.Kejadian di Ulee Glee, Pidie Jaya, Aceh, 17.06.2020Seorang ibu yang diduga mencuri dihakimi masa dan dipotong paksa rambutnya….Semoga ada keadilan hukum bagi si ibu. 😣Sumber : https://t.co/PNLMRxcBj6 pic.twitter.com/RQV2o1Togb— Kondektur Bus™ (@kondekturbus_) June 17, 2020“I hope there will be justice for the woman,” the user captioned the video.The police later identified the woman as YL from Medan, North Sumatra. They said she was caught stealing a bag filled with cash at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday while pretending to buy groceries from a market stall.”She took the bag when the seller was off guard. She targeted bags and mobile phones,” Bandar Dua Police chief First Insp. Faisal said, as quoted by kompas.com.last_img read more

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Police stop investigating alleged university graft

first_img“We will investigate the case with the secretary-general,” she said. Chatarina also said the ministry would return the case to the police if they found evidence that indicated a crime had taken place. Earlier in May, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested DAN, the head of staffing of UNJ, and seized US$1,200 and Rp 27.5 million ($1,850) that was reportedly to be given to education ministry officials as holiday bonuses.The KPK  handed the case over to the police as it claimed that there had been no involvement from state officials in the case. (aly)Topics : The Jakarta Police have stopped an investigation into alleged bribery involving a Jakarta State University (UNJ) staff member, claiming no laws had been violated.“After questioning [44] witnesses and two expert witnesses, we didn’t find any violations,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.The police also reconstructed the case at the Education and Culture Ministry, where the alleged graft took place, and found no indication that illicit funds had changed hands.  “Therefore, the investigators decided to stop the investigation [into the UNJ case],” he said. He added that the police would hand over the case to the ministry. Read also: KPK, not police, should investigate university graft case, ICW saysActing education ministry inspector general Chatarina Muliana Girsang said the ministry would examine whether an ethics violation had occurred in the case. last_img read more

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Thousands of Daimler employees trim hours to save jobs

first_imgThousands of Daimler employees have agreed to cut their hours and give up bonuses this year to save jobs amid the coronavirus crisis, the German carmaker said Tuesday.The Mercedes-Benz manufacturer was already grappling with a painful restructuring set to include a major jobs cull before the pandemic sent car sales plummeting.Daimler said in a statement it had reached a deal with German unions that would see administrative employees and staff in other non-factory areas such as logistics, work two hours less a week and take a corresponding pay cut for one year from October 1. Daimler, which employs nearly 300,000 people worldwide, did not say how many employees in Germany would be affected by the deal.Daimler’s German workers have also agreed to forego their annual profit-sharing bonus this year, which amounted to almost 600 euros ($700) per person in 2019, the statement added.”We want to thank the workforce for their important, temporary contribution to overcoming this crisis together,” Daimler personnel chief Wilfried Porth said.Workers’ representative Michael Brecht called the agreement “a clear contribution to securing jobs and stabilizing our financial situation”. Daimler announced in 2019 that at least 10,000 jobs would be culled as part of the group’s efforts to save 1.4 billion euros by 2022, mainly through voluntary redundancies and early retirement schemes.But German media have reported that number could climb as high as 20,000 as Daimler, like other automakers, faces fallout from weeks of coronavirus lockdowns that halted production lines and kept dealerships closed.The group posted last week a loss of nearly two billion euros in the second quarter of 2020 owing to the pandemic’s impact.Although sales began to recover as countries eased lockdown measures, Daimler chief executive Ola Kallenius warned that the coming “months and years will be a challenge”.Topics :last_img read more

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Russia says medics to get anti-COVID shots in two weeks, some Russians wary

first_imgRussia said on Wednesday the first batch of the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine would be rolled out within two weeks and rejected as “groundless” safety concerns aired by some experts over Moscow’s rapid approval of the drug.The vaccine, called “Sputnik V” in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, has yet to complete its final trials and some scientists said they feared Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety.”It seems our foreign colleagues are sensing the specific competitive advantages of the Russian drug and are trying to express opinions that in our opinion are completely groundless,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said the day after President Vladimir Putin announced it had won regulatory approval. On the streets of Moscow, some Russians said they would be too scared to try the vaccine, while others agreed with their government that skepticism expressed by foreign experts was driven by jealousy.”I don’t trust Russian vaccines in general, I definitely won’t get vaccinated,” said Ekaterina Sabadash, 36, speaking outside Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre.Alexander, a photographer, was also wary. “Until it goes through (final) clinical trials and we get some confirmed results, I would be scared to get it done,” he said.Others said they understood why Russia was in a hurry to get a new vaccine and trusted it, but doubted they would really have a say in whether to have it. Topics :center_img “I’m a teacher and they’ll recommend we get it,” said Irina Fashchevskaya, a Moscow resident. “We’ll be forced to do it.”Officials have said that the vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, would be administered to people, including doctors, on a voluntary basis in the final trial. Mass roll-out in Russia is expected to start in October.Scientists from Germany the United States and Britain have queried the wisdom of approving the vaccine before testing is complete, saying it was risky from a safety point of view.Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, has spoken of an information war against his country, an assertion that finds sympathy with Russians weary of what they regard as years of Western condescension.Mikhail Mechyov, a 42-year-old Moscow resident, said he saw jealousy behind Western warnings.”It’s natural to be cautious, but they are aimed at belittling the achievement of our country,” he said. “I think a lot has been done and it’s great there is a vaccine.”Russian warningThe Moscow-based Association of Clinical Trials Organizations (ACTO), a trade body representing the world’s top drugmakers in Russia, had urged the health ministry to postpone the vaccine’s approval until the final trial had been completed.”It’s the ambition, the desire to be first in a field in which, unfortunately, Russia cannot vie for a top spot,” executive director Svetlana Zavidova told Reuters.”Our task is now to warn the population because we so far don’t understand how they (the authorities) are going to carry out mass vaccination.”Final trials, normally carried out on thousands of participants, are considered essential in determining safety and efficacy. Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful.The Philippines and Kazakhstan have expressed interest in the vaccine, while a senior World Health Organization says it has not received enough information to evaluate it.Roman, a taxi driver in the Vladimir region, invoked a conspiracy theory to explain why he would be avoiding it.”It’s all about a global plan to put microchips into people being pushed by Bill Gates. I have zero trust,” he said.Heidi Larson, who leads the Vaccine Confidence Project (VCP), a global surveillance program on vaccine trust, said she feared Russia’s rush could further dent public trust.A survey in 19 countries, carried out by VCP and Business Partners to CONVINCE, a U.S./UK initiative that is partly government funded, is set to show that Russians were the least trusting of vaccines.Putin, who said the vaccine had already been administered to one of his daughters without any problems, and a string of other officials have insisted it is safe.last_img read more

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‘It’s for humanity’: Indonesians step up to volunteer in vaccine trials

first_imgIn the past several months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Indonesia, people have come together to help each other amid what many see as an insufficient government response.Public donations have supplied front-line workers with personal protective equipment and crowdfunding campaigns have been initiated to pay for phone and internet data for students who are distance learning.Now, with the country pinning its hopes on developing a vaccine, public participation appears to be once again playing a vital role. At least 1,620 Indonesians are scheduled to take part in the final stage of clinical testing, phase III trials, of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.Herlina Agustin, 52, said she had wanted to participate in the trials since she heard the news of the candidate vaccine’s arrival in Indonesia in July for clinical testing by state pharmaceutical holding company Bio Farma.“At first, I thought only certain groups of people could apply to be volunteers. But then I heard that 1,620 volunteers would be needed from among the general public, so I became more convinced to sign up as a volunteer,” she said.Read also: What you need to know about Indonesia’s vaccine development Herlina, a Padjadjaran University (Unpad) lecturer and mother of two in Bandung, West Java, said it was not easy to find information about the trials, which are being led by researchers from her university.She eventually received the information she needed on her family’s WhatsApp group from a relative who works as a medical worker at one of the six trial centers in Bandung.The six centers that are hosting the gradual trials are Unpad’s university health center and its teaching hospital, as well as Sukapakir, Garuda, Ciumbuleuit and Dago community health centers (Puskesmas).Herlina is scheduled to begin her participation in the trials on Aug. 25 at the Dago community health center.The trials, aimed at assessing the efficacy and safety of the candidate vaccine, will be a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. This means the clinical trial team will inject half of the volunteers with the candidate vaccine and the other half with a placebo. Neither the participants nor the trial team will know who receives what.Herlina admitted being “nervous and excited at the same time”, but said she would not mind not knowing whether she had received the candidate vaccine or the placebo. She said she had full faith that the trial team would not “play around” with someone’s life.”At least, I’m doing something for humanity,” she said.Another volunteer, 44-year-old Rina Mardiana, went through a health assessment and had her sample taken as a requirement for participating in the trials, on Aug. 11, the same day President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo paid a visit to the Unpad hospital for a ceremony to launch the trials.Rina said she was aware of the risks.”I want the pandemic to end as soon as possible,” she said.Ferry Ahmad Firdaus, 51, along with his wife, Dewi Diana Sari, 49, and daughter Ezra Pratiwi, 23, have undergone a health assessment in order to participate in the trials. Ferry said his family wanted to help the government develop a vaccine for its people, even if that meant possibly receiving a placebo and still contracting COVID-19.”The trial team has explained that we could be receiving a placebo, but in the end everyone will get the real vaccine if the vaccine’s development is successful,” Ferry said. “We believe the trial is oriented toward research and that it will be objective.”Read also: Indonesia teams up with global manufacturers in vaccine huntWest Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has also signed up as a volunteer for the trials to show his support and trust toward the researchers. “If their leaders join, the people will have confidence that all the processes are scientific. There’s no such thing as sacrificing [the people],” he said.National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo has also registered as a volunteer for the trials, according to task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito, who said it was “part of the government’s commitment to provide the maximum protection for citizens against the danger of COVID-19″.Last week, 110 registered volunteers were injected with the candidate vaccine while 10 others were declared unfit to participate in the trials.To participate in the trials, volunteers must make a commitment to, among other things, not to move out of Bandung or get pregnant, said the clinical trial research team leader, Unpad professor Kusnandi Rusmil.Each volunteer will receive their second injection after 14 days if they have not developed symptoms or have not contracted COVID-19. Over the course of the seven-month trial, they will be required to attend five check-ups.Throughout the trial, researchers will take blood samples from the volunteers three times so they can identify any formation of antibodies against the virus, in order to determine the candidate vaccine’s immunogenicity level and efficacy, Kusnandi said.”We’ll compare the results [among the two groups of volunteers]. How safe is it? What is the immunogenicity level? We want to compare the vaccine’s efficacy with those who receive the placebo and how many of them have possibly contracted COVID-19. So, we’ll have to continuously monitor them,” he said.Bio Farma’s R&D project integration manager Neni Nurainy said the company, as part of its liability during clinical trials, would provide all volunteers with health insurance, meaning it would bear the costs of any health problems throughout the process and reimburse them for the cost of travel.”There’s no reward other than that, but the volunteers will have other benefits like access to health facilities, knowing their condition in regards to COVID-19 and, of course, access to the vaccine if the efficacy is good,” she said. — Ardila Syakriah contributed to this story Topics :last_img read more

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18,000 security personnel deployed amid jobs law protests in Jakarta

first_imgThe Jakarta Police’s Traffic Directorate has also closed traffic access around Jl. Merdeka Barat, Harmoni, Veteran 3 and Gambir since Thursday evening. It has also diverted the flow of vehicles around the State Palace to reduce traffic congestion during the protest.While students continued to carry out a protest near the State Palace in Jakarta, President Jokowi was at Bogor Palace in West Java to receive guests and ministers on Friday.He is at [Bogor] palace to attend an internal meeting, receiving guests and ministers,” Presidential Secretariat head Heru Budi Hartono told kompas.com on Friday.During the protests on Oct. 8 that escalated into violent clashes, the President was in Central Kalimantan on a working trip. A day later Jokowi made his first public comment on the passage of the jobs law, saying criticism against the law was based on “disinformation and hoaxes spread on social media”. (aly)Topics : Security authorities have deployed 18,000 personnel to beef up security amid the continuing protests against the controversial Job Creation Law by university students in Central Jakarta on Friday.A total of 8,000 police, Indonesian Military (TNI) and Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) personnel have been deployed to guard the State Palace while around 10,000 Jakarta Police personnel are standing guard in the National Monument (Monas) area to anticipate an escalation of the protests.“A joint military force has also been deployed to secure the rally,” Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said on Friday, as quoted by kompas.com. The National Association of University Student Executive Bodies (BEM SI) staged another protest against the jobs law on Friday. The protest started at 1 p.m. across from the State Palace, BEM SI coordinator Remy Hastian said.Remy said the students would urge President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) to revoke the highly contentious jobs law, which has been criticized by both the public and experts as legally flawed, an infringement on human rights and for putting the environment at risk.Read also: Labor union refuses to join deliberation for jobs law derivative regulationsTo prevent protestors from entering the palace, the police erected a barrier and blocked access along Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat and at the Arjunan Wiwaha statue.last_img read more

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