Tempotimor (Dili)- The charismatic leader Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao during these days has done his visited all the municipalities with the intention to do the campaign regarding the roles of preventing the virus diseases for the community because he doesn't want the east timorese to end up their lives like in the other countries.

I decided to share this modest contribution to add to the set of measures already taken by those entitled to it. I do not assume that this will be the best proposal. But I believe that given the seriousness of the challenges, government officials have to be bold, and swift in decision-making and execution.

summary

This serious global crisis, whose profound impact is already being felt in our lives in Timor-Leste, will have even more devastating effects if the National Leadership does not have the intelligence, vision, courage and audacity to quickly adopt a strategy based on two pillars - the medical and humanitarian pillar and the socio-economic pillar.

Creation of a National Emergency Fund, in the order of USD 2,000,000,000.00 (two billion US dollars), valid from January 2020 to December 2022, 3 (three) years, for a multifaceted strategy, of more intense (ongoing) prevention, victim care, and economic recovery and dynamism. The Gov may appeal to friendly countries and global financial institutions for its participation in that Fund.

In meetings with Maun Bot Xanana, PM and in a wider one with the President of the Republic, I emphasized that we must face this challenge on two fronts simultaneously, tackle the impact of the virus as a national public health issue and at the same time stop the hemorrhaging of the national economy. .

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To minimize and, if possible, avoid a real catastrophe with the spread of COVID-19, drastic and courageous measures have to be taken. Some have been taken and I applaud the Government for that.

Fortunately we are benefited with three relative advantages:

we find ourselves in a situation in which this pandemic can still be contained in the face of the modest number of identified cases - at the moment a confirmed confirmed case.

we can learn from the experiences of other countries already affected by the presence of COVID-19, both from the mistakes made by those and from the measures that have proved to be positive and effective.

We have financial liquidity that allows us to face this double challenge quickly and effectively, to curb Covid-19 and stop the economic crisis, using our Sovereign Fund.
 
Urgent Response Measures to COVID-19:

Only the measures that have not yet been considered are listed here:
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c) medical-sanitary inspection of social institutions which, due to their nature - orphanages, boarding schools, homes for children, young people, women victims of domestic violence - should not be closed. Provide support in food, money, and on-site medical care. Equally and directly support Religious and Lay Orders that host children and young people.

d) Disperse military personnel in tents and camp beds in the HQ area;

e) Proceed to the immediate release of prisoners who have already served 1/3 of their sentences;

f) Free distribution of hygiene products to the population.

Economic and Social Measures to be Adopted

Timor-Leste has liquidity and the means to use it to face the social and economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

List some considerations in this regard below:

National Emergency Fund, in the order of USD 2,000,000,000.00 (two billion US dollars), valid from January 2020 to December 2022, 3 (three) years, for a multifaceted, prevention strategy (in progress), victim care, and economic recovery and dynamism, namely:
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v. support the national productive sector, agriculture, horticulture and export products such as coffee, vanilla and others, through the banking system, in particular BNCTL and BNU and micro credit institutions such as Moris Rasik.
saw. support national companies, the hotel industry, commercial houses, public passenger and cargo transportation (angunas, microletes), through the banking system. Example: fuel subsidies for trucks transporting goods from Dili to the interior and from the interior to Dili. Support the hotel sector in an amount equivalent to 50% occupancy of the rooms based on a realistic daily rate to be negotiated.
VII. Free use of electricity during 2020, this measure may extend to 2021;
Viii. support private sector employees who, due to the crisis, have lost their wages. Freeze the payment of state property rents to the private sector. Cover the rent of private space, with the owners contributing to reduce the cost of rent.
 IX) Imposing speed in the unloading of goods and customs clearance.
X) The banking sector freezes interest and other obligations, restructures debts and adjusts interest rates compatible with those practiced regionally from 2022 onwards. Debt forgiveness should be seriously considered.
XI) Suspension of international travel by members of the Government, State officials, members of the Defense and Security forces until December 2020 by

XII) Attribution to all health professionals who work at the front line, in hospitals, health centers, as well as those who support the sector, cleaning and garbage collection personnel, with a cash prize equivalent to 50% of its monthly, net, retroactive salary from January to December 2020, which may extend until the end of 2021. These benefits will be extended to Cuban doctors and technicians and other international health workers. The same benefit extends to water and sanitation workers and fire departments.
XIII) Acquisition of food stock for 180 days.
XIV) Consider a direct transfer, for each Timorese family, a monthly amount sufficient to cover a food basket.
XV) To give an example, the PR, PM, PPN and PTR, members of the Government and Deputies, and ex-incumbents propose to cut 50% of their salaries by the end of 2022. This initiative will be extended to all national advisers, as well as hired employees. Likewise, the government had instituted greater discipline and control over the use of official vehicles and fuel.

Dili, March 27, 2020

J. Ramos-Horta

Opinion By Jose Antonio Belo

Timor-Leste has to date managed the Covid-19 crisis very well, as is shown by the low number of cases and the fact there are zero deaths.

Tempotimor (Dili) - The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison called with Timor-Leste’s prime minister Taur Matan Ruak reiterating Australia’s support and solidarity in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Tempotimor (Dili) – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Timor-Leste has increased to a total of six cases. On Tuesday (14 April) two new corona-patients were taken to the isolation center in Vera Cruz, stated Rui Maria de Araujo, the spokesperson of the Integrated Crisis Management Center (Sentru Integradu Jestaun Krize – SIJK).

“There are six confirmed cases: one is recovered, another five are now in the isolation center,” Rui de Araujo said on Tuesday (14 April), updating the information about the epidemic from the Dili Convention Center.

Ambulance

On Tuesday morning, at 09:45am, an ambulance collected one Timorese who was quarantined mandatorily in the Katuas Hotel in Timor-Leste’s capital city Dili, while about the same time another Timorese was taken from the Fortuna Hotel.

Both persons were brought to the isolation center in Vera Cruz.

“These two latest COVID-19 cases were confirmed within 24 hours,” SIJK spokesperson Rui de Araujo said.

Covid-19 history

The first case in Timor-Leste was confirmed on 21 March 2020 and that patient has recovered. After that a Timorese, after having travelled from Kupang (the capital city of West-Timor) to Dili and taken to be quarantined in the Katuas hotel, was tested positive for the corona disease last Friday (10 April).

SIJK then announced that 37 Timorese who also stayed in quarantine at the Katuas hotel were tested by the medial team.

On Sunday evening (12 April) an ambulance visited the hotel twice. Then on Monday (13 April) SIJK announced that indeed two Timorese were confirmed positive of Covid-19 bringing the total to four.

“These two were together with a group from Kupang, now they are in Vera Cruz isolation center. Fortunately their condition is good: no cough, no fever,” stated Odete Viegas, the general director of health care at the Ministry of Health and part of the SIJK team, on Monday (13 April).

The following day, on Tuesday (14 April), two more Timorese were tested positive for the corona disease, bringing the total to six. (***)

Australia is supporting Timor-Leste to be prepared in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19. The neighbouring country has provided personal protective equipment and medical supplies to protect healthcare workers. The Menzies School of Health Research is helping Timor-Leste’s national laboratory to be able to do local testing for COVID-19 in the near future. Also training is provided to health workers at the national hospital.

Tempotimor (Dili) – After a seven-hour long discussion, the national leaders agreed that the president must find ways to resolve the current political crisis that Timor-Leste is facing. They also concluded that early elections are only a last resort, when no other options are left.

BY Jose Antonio Belo

The current political crisis began in 2017 when the Government (the 7th since independence) was led by a minority coalition of FRETILIN and the Democratic Party, with the majority opposition consisting of CNRT, PLP and KHUNTO didn’t pass the government programs.

Tempotimor (Dili) - The parliament of Timor-Leste rejected the new proposal of the government for the state budget.

Tempotimor (Dili) - The Vatican Embassy in Dili is ‘still optimistic’ that Pope Francis will visit Timor-Leste this year. Recently president Francisco Guterres – Lú-Olo – sent an official invitation to the Holy Father. The bishops conference of Timor-Leste united itself behind the initiative.

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