Indonesia's Ministry of Health - in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - issued a 'travel advisory' for Singapore as the small Southeast Asian nation has been plagued by an outbreak of the Zika virus. By Wednesday (31/08), 82 people were reported to have been infected by the virus in Singapore. By issuing the travel advisory Indonesian authorities discourage citizens from traveling to Singapore, particularly pregnant women are warned. Indonesia is no stranger to mosquito-borne illnesses. The country has to cope with frequent outbreaks of dengue fever and malaria.
Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 563,680 confirmed infections, 17,479 deaths (4 December 2020)
4 December 2020 (closed)
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Indonesia is one of the few nations around the globe that is yet to ratify the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC mandates strict limits on tobacco advertising, sponsorship, production, sale, distribution and taxation in order to protect people from the negative health, social, environmental and economic consequences of cigarette consumption or exposure to cigarette smoke. However, it will be a cold day in hell before Indonesia ratifies the FCTC.
Indonesian government officials confirmed that there was one case of the Zika virus in the country but emphasized that there is no need for panic. This case occurred in early 2015 in Jambi (Sumatra) and was discovered when researchers studied specimens during a dengue fever outbreak. The infected person recovered and there are no reports of other cases. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this mosquito-borne virus a global emergency after having spread in South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. Asia is also vulnerable as the mosquito thrives in congested cities.
Starting from January 2015, Indonesian tobacco products are subject to an average tax rise of 8.7 percent. The excise tax on machine-rolled cigarettes becomes IDR 355 (USD $0.03) and on hand-rolled cigarettes IDR 290 (USD $0.02) per stick. The tax hike is implemented by the government in a move to increase state income through tax revenues. The higher excise tax is expected to have a minor effect on tobacco sales in Indonesia as retail prices for cigarettes remain among the lowest in the Southeast Asian region.
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Health, approximately one-third of Indonesians aged over ten years smoke (36 percent), with 67 percent of men and 4.5 percent of women smoking some form of tobacco. While Indonesia is the fifth-largest tobacco market in the world, it is the only World Health Organization (WHO) member state in Southeast Asia that has not ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC was developed in response to the globalisation of the tobacco industry and tobacco use.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) repeatedly emphasizes that hygienic sanitation facilities are crucial for public health. It is estimated that each year around 842,000 people in low and middle-income countries die as a result of inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene. Poor sanitation is believed to be the main cause in some 280,000 of these deaths.
One of the last decisions of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration before being replaced by the new Joko Widodo-led administration was to raise the tobacco excise by an average of 8.7 percent per 1 January 2015. This excise will be applied to all tobacco-related manufactured products. The higher excise, stipulated by a Finance Ministry decree, will boost state income and will also help to curb smoking. About 65 percent of Indonesian men smoke, supported by the cheap price of a package of cigarettes.
Widespread cigarette consumption among Indonesians (especially men) can have a negative impact on the country’s current demographic bonus. One of Indonesia’s strongpoints in terms of economic make-up is that it has a large and young, thus potentially productive, population. Indonesians in the productive age (15 to 64 years) outnumber those that are categorized as youth (below 15 years) and elderly (over 65 years). This large productive group should provide a boost to Indonesia’s economy in the next two decades.
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