Indonesia signs $1 billion loan deal with Australia for COVID-19 relief

FILE PHOTO: Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati attends the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kham

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia has signed a A$1.5 billion ($1.09 billion) loan deal with Australia’s government to be used to help combat the coronavirus pandemic in the Southeast Asian country, Indonesia’s finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Thursday.

“Everybody, all parts of society, are hurt by this COVID-19 (outbreak) and the role of fiscal policy together with other instruments, like monetary policy, is very critical during this difficult time,” Sri Mulyani told a streamed news conference.

Indonesia has recorded the highest number of coronavirus infections and fatalities in Southeast Asia, with 448,118 cases and 14,836 deaths by Wednesday, according to the country’s COVID-19 task force.

($1 = 1.3734 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Tabita Diela; Editing by Ed Davies