COVID-19: C. Java hospital produces protective gear for medical workers amid shortages

first_imgIn response to the shortage of protective health equipment for medical workers treating COVID-19 patients, the Central Java administration has independently produced its own hazmat suits that it will provide to certain medical personnel.Using spunbonded polypropylene, Moewardi General Hospital in Surakarta, Central Java, is able to produce 200 to 250 hazmat suits each day to make up for the shortage of personal protective equipment.“The lack of hazmat suits everywhere has resulted in medical personnel in some regions wearing only a raincoat. We try to innovate. The Moewardi hospital has creatively made its own hazmat suit at a more affordable price,” Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said on Monday. Ganjar suggested that hospitals in Central Java contact the Central Java Health Agency for a hazmat suit.“Or if any hospitals want to make their own hazmat suits, they can learn from the Moewardi hospital,” he said.He advised the regional administration not to rely on the central government and to instead be creative in facing the COVID-19 pandemic.Contacted separately, the Moewardi General Hospital chief of services, Bambang SW, said that the hospital launched production of the suits after it faced difficulties in ordering protective suits from factories. Topics :center_img “Now we’re ready to help the other hospitals or we’ll teach them how to make a hazmat suit,” he said.The suit, Bambang said, cost Rp 50,000 (US$ 3), far below the market price of Rp 150,000.He gave assurances that the hazmat suits were made under strict standards and safety procedures, with the tailors healthy and adhering to cleanliness protocol. (aly)last_img read more

Coronavirus less deadly in Germany because of youthful patients

first_imgThe virus has infected more than 350,000 people and killed more than 16,000 around the world since it emerged in China late last year. About a third of those deaths have been in Italy, where some hospitals are overwhelmed. There have been reports of doctors forced to triage patients and ration equipment to save those most likely to live.Health authorities still don’t know exactly how the virus entered Italy, but once there it easily infiltrated the high-risk older generation. To a degree uncommon in most other parts of Europe, Italian adults are in frequent contact with their parents. The “nonna” and “nonno” provide childcare and standing Sunday lunch dates, and they often live in the same city — or even closer.More than 20% of Italians between the ages of 30 and 49 live with their parents, according to Bonn University economists Christian Bayer and Moritz Kuhn. That’s more than double the rate for Germans in that age bracket. Bayer and Moritz have found a correlation between generations living under one roof and case fatality for coronavirus.‘Social network’“Why are so many elderly in some countries getting infected whereas in other countries they don’t?” Bayer said. “The social network is a natural explanation.”While other factors are certainly influencing fatality rates, Bayer said his analysis appears to bear out thus far for most of Europe and the U.S. Countries where multigenerational living is common — including Greece, Bulgaria, Poland and Serbia — should move swiftly to protect the elderly, he said.In Germany, many early cases were in young and healthy people who had just been to ski resorts where the virus was circulating, often in northern Italy or neighboring Austria. The majority of cases have been in people who are 35 to 59 years of age. The average age of those killed by the disease was 82, the Robert Koch Institute’s Wieler said on Monday.Thanks to a “very aggressive testing process” in Germany, more of the mild cases are probably being included in the total numbers, said Michael Ryan, head of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program. Ryan predicted that mortality rates will evolve in coming weeks, as patients die in the hospital three to four weeks after being diagnosed.Italian authorities have pushed back against the idea that the country’s mortality rate is due to the strain on hospitals overrun by new patients, especially in hard-hit regions such as Lombardy. Areas like Veneto, around Venice, have tested more extensively and have lower mortality rates.Italy’s tollEmergency chief Angelo Borrelli said Friday that the Italian death toll may be skewed higher by an expansive definition of coronavirus deaths, with anyone who tested positive being included, regardless of any other conditions from which they suffered. But Germany’s Koch Institute says it’s following a similar procedure.“The real risk is the geriatric age and also concurring illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Roberto Bernabei, geriatrics professor at Catholic University in Rome. “These lead to a greater aggressiveness from the virus.”Just 2.7% of confirmed infections in Germany are in people over the age of 80, the Koch Institute said on Monday. That compares with 18% of cases in Italy.For now, children should visit their grandparents online instead of in person, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week. She suggested Skype, telephone calls and emails, or “maybe writing letters again.” Topics : As the coronavirus death toll surges across much of Europe, one country remains an anomaly.Despite more than 25,000 infections, the fifth-most in the world, Germany’s mortality rate is only 0.4%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from state health authorities. At the virus’s epicenter in Italy, by contrast, some 9.5% of people confirmed to have the infection have died.There may be many reasons for the disparity, but they all boil down to one thing: Covid-19 has not yet hit as hard among the oldest and frailest members of Germany’s population. Authorities are testing and tracking mild cases aggressively, and more than 80% of those confirmed are in people under the age of 60. In Italy, despite similar demographics, the picture is vastly different, with the virus disproportionately striking the old.center_img Taken together, the two countries are an object lesson for why public health authorities around the world are sealing off nursing homes and asking families not to visit elderly parents or grandparents. Once the virus spreads into an older population, as Italy shows, it can overwhelm health systems and become more deadly for everyone.In Italy, 74% of those who’ve tested positive are over 50. In Germany, 82% of cases are people under 60. The prospect that the outbreak may shift to older people has German health officials worried, too.“We are only at the beginning of the epidemic,” said Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s public health authority.16,000 deathslast_img read more

Disney might check visitors’ temperatures when theme parks reopen

first_imgWalt Disney might require theme park visitors to have their temperatures checked when they reopen after coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings are lifted, Executive Chairman Bob Iger said in an interview published on Tuesday.The company is considering the idea as one way to make the public feel safe about returning to Disney’s parks once they are allowed to open again for business, Iger told Barron’s.”One of the things that we’re discussing already is that in order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they’re safe,” Iger said. “Some of that could come in the form ultimately of a vaccine, but in the absence of that it could come from basically, more scrutiny, more restrictions.” “Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance,” Iger added.Disney operates Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California as well as theme parks in China, Hong Kong, Japan and France. All are currently closed to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. The company has not said when they will re-open.Walt Disney World, the most-visited theme park in the world, attracted 58.4 million visitors in 2018, according to the Themed Entertainment Association.Iger said Disney is studying China’s efforts to let people return to everyday activities.In China, “you can’t get on a bus or a subway or a train or enter a high-rise building there, and I’m sure this will be the case when their schools reopen, without having your temperature taken,” Iger said.Topics :last_img read more

‘Once Upon a Virus’: China mocks US coronavirus response in Lego-like animation

first_imgChina has published a short animation titled “Once Upon a Virus” mocking the US response to the new coronavirus using Lego-like figures to represent the two countries.Washington and Beijing are locked in a war of words over the origins of the disease, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has grown into a global pandemic.US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was confident the coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese virology lab, but declined to describe the evidence. In the animation posted online by China’s official Xinhua news agency, red curtains open to reveal a stage featuring Lego-like figures in the form of a terracotta warrior wearing a face mask and the Statue of Liberty.”We discovered a new virus,” says the warrior.”So what?” replies the Statue of Liberty. “It’s only a flu.” As the warrior issues warnings about the virus and counts off the grim milestones in China’s outbreak, the Statue of Liberty replies dismissively with echoes of Trump’s press conferences in which he played down the severity of the illness.Read also: Trump says China could have stopped coronavirus, Beijing decries shifting of blame”Are you listening to yourselves?” asks the warrior as the statue begins to turn red with fever and gets hooked up to an intravenous drip.”We are always correct, even though we contradict ourselves,” the statue replies.”That’s what I love about you Americans, your consistency,” says the warrior.The United States and other countries have accused China of misleading the world about the severity of the outbreak, and there are growing calls for an international inquiry into the origins of the virus.In an interview with Reuters, Trump said he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November.Lego’s press office wrote in an emailed statement on Saturday: “We weren’t involved in making the animation in any way.”Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s Ramadan school moves online amid coronavirus epidemic

first_img“The chemistry is absolutely different as we don’t meet in person,” Winardi said of the online lessons. “But we try some ice-breaking activities, such as shouting ‘God is greatest’. Hopefully it encourages them to memorize the Quran.”Joining the class from the capital, Jakarta, alongside classmates from South Sumatra and West Java, Muhammad Umar Abdurrahman, 11, said he enjoyed the lesson, although his father saw room for improvement, such as more comprehensive course material.Most residents of Jakarta have been staying home since March 20 as part of social distancing measures, which have seen schools and businesses close, and gatherings of more than five people banned until May 22.Indonesia, which has the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia outside China, has reported more than 12,000 coronavirus cases and 872 deaths, as of on Tuesday.Topics : “Due to COVID-19, we’re restricted from activities outside our houses so we started the online Islamic course,” said Gemia Indria, one of the organizers.”And it turns out online teaching removes geographical barriers, so we can reach out to more participants.”Known as pesantren kilat, which loosely translates as “intensive Islamic boarding school”, the course teaches students about Islam, as well as creative ways to recite the Quran, such as through hand gestures.The gestures, Winardi explained, can act as fun prompts to help primary school students, most aged from 6 to 12 years old, recall religious verses. Each year during the fasting month of Ramadan, Indonesian tutor Ahmad Winardi has taught a special course for students in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country to deepen their knowledge of Islam.But this year, the novel coronavirus has brought a Ramadan like never before, with shuttered mosques and strict physical distancing regulations, and so Winardi has moved his Islamic studies online.One consequence is that the courses, previously held only in cities on the islands of Java and Sumatra, have this year attracted a wider range of students in the archipelago, including from Kalimantan.last_img read more

House passes Perppu on COVID-19 response amid concerns of embezzlement

first_imgUnder the Perppu the central government is allowed to allocate more funds for coronavirus aid in this year’s state budget through a presidential regulation (Perpres), which does not require House approval.The government seeks to disburse Rp 405.1 trillion (US$24.6 billion) for COVID-19 measures, most of which would be allocated to support the economic recovery rather than health care.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in the plenary session that, in such a critical situation, all countries in the world should take extraordinary measures in accordance with their fiscal capabilities.Read also: Indonesia will emerge out of pandemic highly indebted. Every rupiah counts The House of Representatives has passed an executive order that will expand the government’s authority to allocate emergency coronavirus spending despite mounting public pressure to drop the regulation due to concerns of budget misappropriation and embezzlement.Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No. 1/2020 allows the government to extend the state budget deficit beyond the normal 3-percent-of-GDP limit and allocate extra spending to the COVID-19 response, while protecting officials from any legal charges as long as they act “in good faith and according to the law”.”Eight political party factions have agreed [to pass the regulation], while one faction, the PKS [Prosperous Justice Party] raised objections,” House Speaker Puan Maharani said at the House’s plenary session on Tuesday. “Countries that are fiscally prudent are now forced to widen their deficits,” Sri Mulyani said, adding that the government would maintain a debt-to-GDP ratio of below 60 percent.Two party factions from the government coalition, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Gerindra Party, previously voiced objections to the executive order, saying that it infringed the House’s right to deliberate the state budget and gave officials excessive power over the matter.However, both factions eventually agreed to endorse the Perppu in Tuesday’s plenary session following a House budget committee hearing with Sri Mulyani on May 4, in which lawmakers and the government agreed to pass the 2021 and 2022 state budgets through the normal process, not through a Perpres as in the case of the revised 2020 budget.The Perppu, however, has prompted a chorus of criticism from activists and civil society groups lambasting what they deem an absence of government oversight in the regulation that might lead to corruption.The objections revolve particularly around Article 27 of the regulation, which stipulates that the funds spent by the government to counter the economic impacts of the pandemic are considered to be “economic costs” rather than state losses. The article also shields officials responsible for fiscal and monetary policies from any legal charges behind the argument that they have acted in good faith.The Center for Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia (PSHTN FHUI), noted that the regulation had the potential to restore excessive power for the president, citing Article 12 of the Perppu that allows the state budget to be determined through a Perpres.Read also: COVID-19: Govt to allow people under 45 to work outside to prevent more layoffs“Such [provisions] will certainly give the president space to have absolute power in the state budget without the House’s approval” PSHTN FHUI chairman Mustafa Fakhri said.The Constitutional Court is currently reviewing the controversial provisions in the Perppu under a petition filed by a group of anticorruption activists, who argued that Article 27 violated the 1945 Constitution and several prevailing laws, including the 2003 law on state finances and the 2006 law on the Supreme Audit Agency.Boyamin Saiman from the Indonesian Anticorruption Community (MAKI), one of the plaintiffs challenging the Perppu, said they would immediately withdraw their petition from the Constitutional Court and submit a new one to demand that the court scrap Article 27.”We are happy that the House has passed the Perppu into law. Our petition will be more solid, because we are now facing two parties, the government and the House,” he said.Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, however, asserted on Tuesday that the Perppu would not give officials impunity from graft charges if any of them were found to have committed corruption, saying that Article 27 only meant to ensure that the government could make swift decisions during the health crisis.”Corruption at the time of a disaster can be punished with the death sentence,” Yasonna said, citing a provision of the 2001 Corruption Law that stipulates that those committing corruption or self-enrichment that cause state losses during a national disaster may face capital punishment.Topics :last_img read more

MUI, Muhammadiyah advise public to hold Idul Fitri prayers at home during pandemic

first_imgThe Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Muhammadiyah have advised Muslims in the country to avoid conducting Idul Fitri prayers in large congregations at mosques due to the pandemic.Traditionally, Idul Fitri prayers, which this year are expected to be held on May 24 when Ramadan ends, are conducted in mosques and open spaces, involving hundreds to thousands of people. With the government’s large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), which were implemented to help curb the spread of COVID-19, conducting prayers in the traditional way would pose major health risks. The MUI issued a fatwa on the matter on Wednesday, allowing Idul Fitri prayers at home in areas where COVID-19 has spread “uncontrollably”. However, Muslims in areas where the virus is largely controlled can hold Idul Fitri prayers as normal.”Idul Fitri prayers can be performed at home in congregations with family members or individuals, especially in areas where COVID-19 has spread uncontrollably,” MUI Fatwa Council chair Hasanuddin said in a statement on Wednesday.It also called on Muslims, the government and the community to hold takbiran, a way to celebrate the eve of Idul Fitri, but in a less festive way. During the pandemic, takbiran, which includes takbir (recitation of God is great), is a prayer for humanity in overcoming the coronavirus.The MUI suggested that takbiran be held at homes, mosques as led by takmir (mosque management) and on the road with limited participants, as well as aired on television, the radio and social media. Muhammadiyah, one of the biggest Islamic organizations in the country, issued a circular on Thursday on Idul Fitri prayer guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.It suggested that the prayers be performed at home to “break the chain” of COVID-19 infections and as a precautionary measure to prevent the current situation from getting worse. “Idul Fitri prayers should be performed at home with family members in the same way as in public spaces,” Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir said.The organization said that, according to Islamic perspective, self-protection, both body and soul, was important as Surah al-Maidah, verse 32 of the Quran, emphasized: “Whoever saves a life, it is as if they had saved mankind entirely.”Both the MUI and Muhammadiyah said that the public Idul Fitri prayers were not obligatory, but rather sunnah (voluntary act of worship), and performing the activities at home would not reduce the religious value of them. The eve of Idul Fitri and the day of the Muslim festivities have yet to be decided, pending an isbat (confirmation meeting) to be held by the Religious Affairs Ministry and the MUI on May 22. The meeting is to be attended by several Islamic mass organizations.Previously, the MUI issued a fatwa on Friday prayers during the pandemic. On March 16, it said that Muslims in areas where COVID-19 had spread “uncontrollably” were “not permitted to perform the Friday prayers in those areas until the situation returns to normal”.The Health Ministry announced 568 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 16,006, with 1,043 deaths and 3,518 recoveries.In comparison, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the highest religious authority in the kingdom, had said prayers during Ramadan and the subsequent Idul Fitri festival should be performed at home should the coronavirus outbreak continue, a Saudi newspaper reported as quoted by aljazeera.com.Meanwhile, Muslim-majority Malaysia started easing its ban on mass prayers in mosques on Friday, the Malaysian government said, as it gradually relaxes curbs that have helped rein in the coronavirus, according to straitstimes.com.Topics :last_img read more

House urges govt to evaluate travel relaxation as crowds throng airport

first_img“I asked the Transportation Ministry to improve its management and evaluate the relaxation policy so that its implementation is still in line with COVID-19 prevention measures. Intensive monitoring in regions where the policy is implemented is also necessary,” Bambang said.He said the government should ensure public safety during the travel relaxation.”The government should also actively inform the public about the policy so they can understand it properly,” he said.To prevent people from going on the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) and to curb COVID-19 transmission, the Transportation Ministry decided to suspend intercity flights for passengers from April 24 to June 1.However, the national COVID-19 task force relaxed the restriction on May 6, allowing state officials, private-sector and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) employees who provide essential services, repatriated Indonesian nationals, individuals who need emergency medical care and bereaved family members to travel between cities.Following the regulations, airlines announced that they would gradually resume domestic flight services with stricter health protocols, such as requiring pre-flight medical checkups and a letter explaining reasons for travel from a relevant institution.Read also: AP II limits flights, sets up new system to avoid congestionAirport operator PT Angkasa Pura (AP) II communications manager Febri Toga Simatupang said document checking and busy morning flights had caused long queues in Soekarno-Hatta on Thursday morning.”The crowding of passengers was caused by an influx of passengers coming for morning flights where 13 departures were scheduled between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Airport officials were overwhelmed by the large number of passengers seeking to get their flight documents checked,” he said.Nurhayati demanded the government hold AP II accountable for Thursday morning’s incident.”Officials could open a lot of gates [to prevent crowds] and manage passengers so they could keep their distance,” he said.Nurhayati said passengers should be able to submit the required documents online prior to their flights to prevent crowding at the airport and long queues. (nal)Topics : Nurhayati said strict health protocols to prevent COVID-19 transmission should always be implemented during the travel-relaxation policy.”The goal of the policy is to curb the spread of COVID-19 while improving our economy at the same time,” she said.Read also: Businesses worry easing restrictions could prolong recoveryPeople’s Representatives Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo also issued a similar request on Friday. Several members of the House of Representatives have asked the government to reevaluate its travel-relaxation policy after pictures of passengers crowding into Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, went viral on Thursday.Nurhayati Monoarfa, deputy head of House Commission V overseeing transportation, said the Transportation Ministry should develop performance indicators to assess the policy.”I suggest the government evaluate the policy by considering officials’ preparedness in the field. The Transportation Ministry should also draw up policy-performance indicators,” she said in a written statement on Friday as quoted from kompas.com.last_img read more

Health protocols to be priority in tourism recovery strategy: Officials

first_imgTopics : As part of the recovery program, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry will launch online marketing campaigns and improve hygiene and safety standards in major tourist destinations to attract foreign tourists. “As part of the rebound strategy, we will deliver a message to the market that the safety and hygiene of our tourist destinations are in accordance with international standards. By doing so, we can spur confidence and maintain our credibility among potential visitors,” said the ministry’s deputy head of resources and institutional affairs, Frans Teguh.In addition, Frans said the ministry also provided online training for tourism workers who wished to improve their skills and prepare themselves for shifts in consumer behavior.Local administrations are also preparing various strategies, with health, safety and hygiene protocols a priority.Bali’s deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Arta Ardhana said the province planned to establish “tourism clusters”, which would be exclusive tourist zones in which high-level health protocols would be implemented, so that tourists could be welcomed back without the risk of spreading COVID-19 to locals.“We don’t want to have a second wave of infections when we reopen. Therefore, we are currently discussing setting up tourism clusters around the island,” he said.Meanwhile, Belitung’s deputy regent Isyak Meirobie proposed offering tourism packages that would include a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for visitors who visited the island.“The tourists would have to take a swab test on their arrival to the island, which would be part of the tour package. If they’re found negative, they could roam freely on the island,” he said.A recent survey by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) confirmed the predicted change in traveler preferences, with health and safety becoming a major concern for future trips.The survey was conducted among 1,200 Chinese tourists, who made up the largest group of foreign visitors to the country before the pandemic.“The tourists surveyed hope that travel agencies and destinations take the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of tourists during their travels,” the study read. The government is preparing a tourism recovery strategy after the sector was severely impacted by the emergency measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.The Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister’s undersecretary, Ridwan Djamaluddin, said the government would soon establish a team to coordinate efforts to revive tourism alongside private companies and stakeholders. “We are currently formulating a strategy and raising funds to revive tourism. The ministry has proposed establishing a joint team to coordinate our efforts, as the government and private sector cannot work separately” he said during an online discussion held by Tourism Aware Citizens (Masata) on May 14.center_img Tourism came to a virtual halt when the COVID-19 outbreak hit Indonesia in March. The situation worsened in the following months after the government imposed a partial lockdown to halt the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.According to the latest data issued by Statistic Indonesia (BPS), foreign tourist arrivals fell 64.1 percent year-on-year (yoy) in March to 470,898 visitors, a level unseen since February 2009.President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, however, believes tourism will rebound in 2021 with the government to prioritize it in its economic agenda, according to the Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko.“The President projected that there would be a tourism boom next year and the industry should be ready for it,” he said during the discussion.last_img read more

Millennials fail to benefit from slower rise in house prices

first_img “We may still be able to come up with the down payment, but I am afraid we might have difficulty paying the mortgage instalments in the long run, because we are exposed to the risk of losing our jobs and income,” Dara told The Jakarta Post via text message on May 18.Millennial homebuyers, who account for two-thirds of the target market population, mostly look for houses with a price tag of around Rp 500 million (US$33,800), according to Real Estate Indonesia (REI). The millennial segment mostly settles for modest houses of 50 square meters (sqm) or 100 sqm with two bedrooms.However, the pandemic, which has impacted consumer purchasing power and forced companies to lay off workers, has seen residential property sales drop by 43.19 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the first quarter, according to a quarterly survey by Bank Indonesia.This is despite a slowing increase in house prices, as evident in the Residential Property Price Index (IHPR) that grew 1.68 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the January–March period this year, lower than 1.77 percent in the previous quarter. Millennials still find it difficult to buy houses despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the property industry, as the threat of layoff looms amid a battered economy.Dara Cantika, a 26-year-old private-sector employee in Surabaya, East Java, delayed her plan to buy a house, fearing a pay cut or sudden layoff, given rampant job cuts due to the pandemic. Wendy Haryanto, the executive director of Jakarta Property Institute (JPI), a non-profit organization advising developers, said Thursday that the threat of job loss due to the pandemic added to a decline in demand among millennials that had begun last year.“For those wanting to buy a house, this is actually a good chance to get a more affordable house,” Wendy said in a text message on May 21. “But millennial consumers are somewhat vulnerable to layoffs in the job market right now.”Furthermore, she said, millennials could afford no more than Rp 3 million in monthly mortgage payments on average.It is not that millennials lack the desire to own a property. According to online property marketplace rumah123.com, the number of searches on its website by potential homebuyers aged between 25 and 35 years rose by 27 percent in 2019.Demand for houses costing less than Rp 500 million made up around a quarter of the total demand, but supply was behind by around 3 percentage points, according to a survey released in February by rumah123.com.However, in 2019, sales of houses to millennials only reached 20,000 or 10 percent of the total sales, according to REI.REI chairman Totok Lusida said on May 21 that developers remained eager to focus on millennial homebuyers.“Despite the declining purchasing power, the opportunity in the market is still very big,” Totok told the Post in a phone interview. “Millennials are our target because they still have the power to buy a house right now.”Developer Ciputra Group, for example, provides housing aimed at millennial buyers starting from Rp 180 million at its Citra Maja Raya complex in Lebak Regency in Banten.Meanwhile, for the upper-middle class segment, the developer is selling houses starting from Rp 660 million at its 1,000-ha Citra Sentul Raya complex in Bogor, West Java.Read also: Residential property sales, prices rise cool as pandemic hits economyMeanwhile, several national banks offer mortgages tailored to millennials.State-owned lender Bank Mandiri, the country’s largest bank in terms of assets, loans and deposits, offers a conditional zero down payment and around 8 percent five-year fixed interest rate for a minimum tenure of 15 years, and 9.15 percent for 10 years.Despite the current difficulties, such offers have enticed 26-year-old Christoffer Rafael, a copywriter based in Jakarta, to settle a down payment for a house by the end of the year.Christoffer is looking to find a house in the Serpong area of South Tangerang, Banten, and he has been making calls to salespersons.“Apparently, there will be a stimulus from the bank [for mortgages],” Christoffer said via text message on May 18. “Moreover, many developers seem to be getting ready to give discounts.”— Riza Roidila Mufti contributed to this story.Read also: ‘We are dying’: No new shopping center openings, leasing grinds to haltTopics :last_img read more