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Under-fire health minister dropped in Indonesian Cabinet reshuffle

JAKARTA: Indonesia's president yesterday announced a sweeping reshuffle of his Cabinet, including a replacement for a health minister criticised for his perceived mishandling of the country's coronavirus crisis.

President Joko Widodo said six ministers will be replaced, including in the portfolios of health, trade, tourism and fisheries.

The newcomers will be inaugurated today.

Outgoing Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto, a military radiologist and former personal physician to Mr Joko's late mother, has faced calls to resign over a coronavirus caseload that is among Asia's biggest.

At the start of the pandemic, Mr Terawan was criticised for suggesting that prayer could help protect people.

DEATHS

Indonesia has recorded more than 678,000 cases and 20,250 deaths.

Mr Budi Gunadi Sadikin, a former head of Bank Mandiri and chief of Indonesia's economic recovery task force, will take over the health portfolio.

Ms Olivia Herlinda, policy director at the Centre for Indonesia's Strategic Development Initiatives, said the reshuffle was an opportunity for a more effective approach.

"The new (Health) Minister should quickly map out the gaps in Covid-19 handling thus far and prioritise strategic actions," she said.

Mr Joko had hinted at the reshuffle back in June after lamenting a lack of a "sense of crisis" among his ministers.

The reshuffle come weeks after the ministers of fisheries and social affairs were named as suspects in corruption cases by the nation's anti-graft body. - REUTERS

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