Experts slam govt for ‘inconsistent, poor’ COVID-19 policies after transport relaxation

first_imgChairwoman Asfinawati of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) lambasted the new “travel relaxation”, saying that any government policy adopted solely for economic reasons and with minimal consideration of public health was off target.“It is worrying when the policies taken are not based on accurate data. The outcome may be worse, considering the small percentage of our population that has been tested compared to those of other countries,” Asfinawati told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Despite the government’s claim that the policy was intended to accommodate essential travel for public officials, COVID-19 patients and their families and Indonesians wishing to repatriate, Asfinawati feared that the policy could easily be misused.“How are we going to verify all [travelers]? I said from the beginning [that] what are needed from the regulations are the details. With this [policy], public officials can easily fabricate a legitimate reason to go back to their hometowns. In the end, this would be class bias,” she stressed. The government’s latest move to allow public transportation services to resume, even as the mudik (exodus) ban remains in force, has added unnecessary complications to that nationwide physical distancing policy. Experts say that the move is not only poorly calculated, but also inconsistent at a time when the nation’s fight against COVID-19 should be strengthened, not relaxed. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi reopened all air, land and sea transportation services on Thursday, saying the measure was necessary for the national economy to survive.Although the new policy applies to certain individuals like state officials and medical workers and carries certain requirements, it has compounded the nationwide ban on all domestic travel to and from the so-called COVID-19 red zones. Read also: New regulation allows businesspeople, officials to travel despite ‘mudik’ banThe government has been heavily criticized for its inconsistent stance on social distancing since the first large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) was implemented in Jakarta.Ride-hailing ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers were left confused as to whether they could still transport passengers when the capital implemented the PSBB on April 10.While the Health Ministry rejected Jakarta’s request to allow ojek drivers to transport passengers, the Transportation Ministry issued a regulation that stipulated the opposite, which many pointed out was a contravention of the PSBB’s implementing guidelines.The government then issued the mudik travel ban on April 21, weeks after affected informal workers had started returning to their hometowns. President Joko Widodo attempted to fend off criticisms that the regulation came “too late”, with an etymological claim that the Idul Fitri tradition of mudik was not the same as the “regular” pulang kampung tradition of returning to one’s hometown.This Wednesday, however, Budi Karya said that mudik and pulang kampung were the same thing and that the government was banning both under the President’s instruction.Economist and political analyst Ichsanuddin Noorsy pointed out other instances that showed the government’s lack of commitment to COVID-19 mitigation, such as allowing international flights to operate normally despite the mudik ban.Ichsanuddin also regretted the Manpower Ministry’s plan to bring in 500 foreign workers from China in direct contravention of the Law and Human Rights Ministry’s recent temporarily ban on foreign arrivals to Indonesia.Read also: Indonesia to revise ‘overall data’ on COVID-19 cases as govt scrambles to ramp up testing“Almost all policies on COVID-19 [mitigation] are inconsistent,” he said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com, adding that such policy inconsistencies had led to weak inter-agency coordination in the field.“[These] policies are not based on the correct understanding of the problems – [they are] poor public policy formulations,” Ichsanuddin said, adding that he was afraid public distrust of the government could grow as a consequence.Similarly, Lokataru Legal and Human Rights Foundation executive director Haris Azhar said that the central and regional governments were out of sync in their stances on the COVID-19 social restriction policies.“The stay at home order is to reduce transmission. [So] Why is it that the government is now facilitating public transportation?” he said. “It’s confusing, because the regional administrations seem to want strict restrictions, but the central government keeps pushing the other way,” Haris told the Post on Thursday.Haris also called on the central government not to claim that Indonesia had succeeded in “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 transmission as a reason for making new policies.“It should not use language that says we are [now] safe. The numbers are still going up,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf: 400 New Jobs Coming to Columbia County

first_img Jobs That Pay,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that WebstaurantStore, Inc., an online restaurant supply company, will construct a new fulfillment center, creating at least 400 new, full-time jobs in Columbia County.“We’re thrilled to have helped WebstaurantStore bring new jobs to Columbia County,” said Governor Wolf. “We applaud Webstaurant for continuing to invest in the commonwealth, and for their contribution to make Pennsylvania a better place to live, work, and play.”Due to Pennsylvania’s prime location and the strength of its workforce, WebstaurantStore has purchased land in Hemlock Township, Columbia County, and plans to build a 586,000-square-foot distribution center to better serve the Mid-Atlantic and New England region. The company has pledged to invest at least $33 million into the project, which is expected to create 400 new, full-time jobs and retain 483 jobs over the next three years.“We are very excited to expand our presence in Pennsylvania with our new distribution center in the Bloomsburg area. As our rapid growth continues, we are pleased to make a long-term commitment to be a part of the Columbia County community,” said Dave Groff, president of WebstaurantStore. “We appreciate the guidance and support from the Governor’s Action Team to make this project a reality.”WebstaurantStore received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for an $800,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $800,000 in job creation tax credits to be distributed upon the creation of new jobs. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.Headquartered in Lititz, Lancaster County and launched in 2004, WebstaurantStore is the largest online restaurant supply store serving food service professionals and individual customers worldwide. The company offers thousands of available wholesale supplies and commercial equipment and has expanded its offerings beyond the restaurant industry, including healthcare, educational, and hotel supplies.For more information about the Governor’s Action Team, visit dced.pa.gov, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Governor Wolf: 400 New Jobs Coming to Columbia County SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img May 23, 2019last_img read more

Smalling ready to fight for place

first_img United have told Real Madrid the only way they will sign David de Gea is if they give them Ramos in return. Ramos is regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe. The 29-year-old has won the Primera Division with Madrid three times, as well as the Champions League. He has also won the World Cup and the European Championship on two occasions with Spain. Press Association Should the Spaniard arrive, Smalling’s place in the team would come under threat. The England centre-half became an established player under Louis van Gaal last season, but does not care if he has to tussle with the likes of Ramos for a place in the team next term. “There is always competition at Manchester United,” Smalling said when asked what effect Ramos’ possible arrival could have on his future. “When I signed there were five centre backs already here. “I had to work hard to get past them. At this club you are always going to be compared with the best and you always play with the best.” Smalling has come in for some criticism since he signed for United five years ago. But the former Fulham defender earned Van Gaal’s trust in the final third of last year, starting 12 of the last 13 games, and was rewarded with a new four-year contract. The 25-year-old is now looking to continue his progression under Van Gaal. “I hope my performances keep me in the team,” said Smalling on the day before United’s tour game against the San Jose Earthquakes at the Avaya Stadium. “Once you set a benchmark it is matter of aiming higher. You cannot afford to drop them. I want to make a good start to the season. After that it will just be a question of kicking on.” center_img Chris Smalling is not fazed by the prospect of having to compete with Sergio Ramos for a place in the Manchester United first team. last_img read more