US Passport Update, Apology to Jakarta, 50-59 Year Olds Next for Jab, Cryptocurrencies
May 31, 2021 | AmCham Indonesia
Embassy Alert: US Citizens May Return Home with Certain Expired Passports
US citizens abroad whose passports expired on or after January 1, 2020 may be able to use their expired passports to return directly to the US until December 31, 2021. This exception applies for US citizens who are seeking direct return to the US or a US territory, or whose flight to the US has only a short-term transit in another country. To qualify for this, your expired passport must be originally valid for 10 years. If you were 15 years of age or younger when you obtained your passport, it must be originally valid for five years. Your passport must also be undamaged, unaltered, and currently in your possession.
This exception does not apply for US citizens looking to travel to another international destination, be it departing from the US or while being abroad. This also does not apply for special issuance passports (diplomatic, official, service or no-fee regular passports). The US State Department advises that routine passport processing currently takes 10-12 weeks. To shorten the processing time to 4-6 weeks, you can pay an additional $60 fee.
Health Ministry Clarifies Jakarta Pandemic Control Ranking
Health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has apologized for a recent ministry statement that Jakarta was the worst performing province in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the “E” grade awarded to Jakarta was not based on the performance of the provincial government, rather the grades were used as risk indicators based on the ministry’s internal analysis of virus transmission rates and the response of the government. Budi said the ministry examined the pandemic response grades to determine the appropriate policies and simulations to anticipate increases in cases on a regional level.
Pre-elderly civilians (aged 50-59) have been receiving vaccinations since May 29, according to the Jakarta health office account @dinkesdki. The pre-elderly are the second most vulnerable age group and may suffer heavy, even fatal Covid-19 symptoms, it said. Vaccinations will be done based on the domicile areas listed on their ID cards. People who accompany two pre-elderly recipients will also have the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Johnson & Johnson continues to support healthcare professionals and its communities through several initiatives. Supported by its Global Community Impact and the Johnson & Johnson Foundation in collaboration with UNICEF the company completed its Covid-19 Emergency Response program in Indonesia in 2020. In 2021, the medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods company is collaborating with Save the Children on minimizing the mental health consequences of Covid-19 in Indonesia, while supporting Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) training via Project Hope.
The company also continues to support its portfolio of programs in the country, including the Bidan Delima program with the Indonesian Midwives Association, Community Health Empowerment for Early-Detecting and Reintegrating of Schizophrenia with Lentera, Saving Lives at Birth III with Project Hope, Mental Health and Psycho-social support with Save the Children, Nurses Education Financing with DANAdidik and Strengthening Entrepreneurship for Health Advancement and Transformation with Instellar.
During the month of Ramadan, Johnson & Johnson Indonesia employees donated basic food packages for vulnerable families affected by the earthquake in East Java through the PKPU Human Initiative. Since 2020, the company has contributed over $1.3 million to support communities in Indonesia.
Young Professionals Discuss the Future of Money
Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain - Where Are We? was the topic of an AmCham Indonesia Young Professionals Committee virtual discussion on May 27.
Committee Chair Calvin Ray, of CastleAsia, moderated. He began by looking at Bitcoin, the world's first cryptocurrency, speaking about its history and the rise of cryptocurrencies as a digital asset. Bitcoin was created to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography rather than relying on central authorities.
Cryptography is a method of protecting information and communications through the use of codes, using an algorithm and key for cryptocurrencies so only those for whom the information is intended can read and process it.
Blockchain is a system of recording information in a way that makes it difficult to change, hack or cheat the system and is used for the trading of cryptocurrencies, among other things. It acts as a digital ledger of transactions distributed across the whole network of computer systems on the blockchain
Guest speaker Edward Ricardson, CTO and Lead Developer at SWIRF Labs, an IT and cybersecurity company, said the value of Bitcoin first peaked at $20,000 in early 2018, before crashing later in the year. The price has soared 700 percent since March 2020, when the stock market crashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and cryptocurrencies were seen as a more lucrative alternative, reaching an all-time high in April 2021 of $64,000. As an investor in Bitcoin, Edward said he never expected the value to go so high.
As of today, there are over 10,000 cryptocurrencies and over 380 exchanges. Bitcoin remains the dominant market player with over 40 percent of total market cap, followed by Ethereum at 19 percent. Daily trading volume hovers around $200 billion. This has inspired the creation of various other cryptocurrencies with different functionalities.
Can Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies maintain their meteoric rises? Calvin and Edward said they don't know for certain. They feel prices rose too quickly, fueled by the euphoria of new and inexperienced investors looking to make easy money, quickly. Crypto "whales" now have the power to manipulate the market by selling off large amounts for massive profit, and the recent bull-run was aided by massive investment by huge corporations.
But after every bull-run, prices fall tend to fall, before recovering to hit all-time highs. These huge fluctuations, with the pursuit of short-term gain rather than longer term investment and benefits, make cryptocurrencies both potentially lucrative and unstable. Making the market very difficult to read long term.
There will undoubtedly be more record highs, but will they outweigh the lows? That is the burning question.
Invest in Indonesia: Opportunities in Asia’s Economic Powerhouse
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia invites you to a virtual interactive event: “Invest in Indonesia: Opportunities in Asia’s Economic Powerhouse” on June 3rd, 2021 at 21.00-22.30 WIB / 10.00-11.30 EDT / 07.00-08.30 PDT. This will be the second webinar in an ongoing series entitled “Indonesia is Open for Business”.
As ASEAN’s largest economy, constituting 35% of ASEAN GDP and 40% of the ASEAN population, Indonesia is the region’s most compelling investment destination. The event aims to illustrate what makes Indonesia so compelling to investors and invites you to listen to policymakers and experts describe the latest reforms and policy actions taken by a government determined to make Indonesia Asia’s #1 foreign investment destination.
You will hear from President Joko Widodo’s Cabinet on how the Government is encouraging more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI); and you will also receive invaluable insights from seasoned members of the private sector with years of experience operating in Indonesia.
You can confirm your attendance through the link below. Registration will close on June 1st, 2021, 6 PM EDT.
In this fast-paced world, it is often hard to stay informed on the latest political issues and business trends that may affect our lives. This is why Katadata’s D-insights provides the information we need on a daily basis, plus weekly and quarterly reports that summarize the trends and give background on the business, politics, markets, and energy.
Katadata D-insights offers a special rate for all AmCham members. The subscription for D-Insights are as follows:
Up to four users with a special price at Rp 40,000,000 annually. Send names, emails, and quote “AMCHAM2” to [email protected]
Support Independent Journalism: Subscribe to The Jakarta Post
In these difficult times, our hometown English language newspaper, The Jakarta Post, is more important than ever. Given the difficulties of physical circulation and the economic slump, the Post needs to boost its online subscribers – a goal we heartily support at AmCham Indonesia. Quality English language news is vital for our businesses, our home offices, and the flow of information out of Indonesia. It is for this reason, that we are urging all of our members and readers to subscribe to JP! Information is what will help get us through this crisis. Below is information about how to sign up.
The AmCham Office is on the work-from-home status and all face-to-face meetings and events have been postponed. We are having a number of meetings online using the Zoom platform. You will be notified of virtual meetings as they are scheduled.
What is Your Company Doing on COVID-19?
Please let us know what measures your company may be taking in the form of donations and other assistance to help Indonesia during this time of confusion and concern. Contact [email protected] with your news. We would like to publicize the ways that our AmCham companies are pitching in.
Stay safe, call a doctor if you have a high fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Stay healthy above all else.
AmCham Update is AmCham's regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis and other issues in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard is the Managing Editor