JAKARTA: The number of active COVID-19 cases in Indonesia is showing a downward trend despite the fact that daily infections continue to rise, President Joko Widodo said on Tuesday (Sep 1).
He said the percentage of active COVID-19 cases in Indonesia is now 23.6 per cent, lower than about 70 per cent at the start of the outbreak in March.
The president’s remarks came amid growing concerns that six months after the first cases were reported, the spread of the deadly disease may not be under control in Indonesia.
With 177,571 cases on Tuesday, it has one of the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.
But Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said people must bear in mind that recoveries have also continued to grow.
“It is better than the global average,” Mr Widodo told journalists from the foreign media at the presidential palace in Bogor.
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Indonesia has a total of 128,057 recoveries, which constitute about 72 per cent of the total number of cases.
On Tuesday, the country reported 88 deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 7,505.
Mr Widodo noted that Indonesia’s fatality rate of 4.2 per cent is higher than the global rate of 3.3 per cent.
He said that testing in Indonesia is still lagging due to limited human capacity and that it is trying to catch up by training more people.
He also said that the number of cases is expected to peak this month, after which it will fall.
The epicentres of the outbreak are in capital Jakarta and East Java province.
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There are fears that hospitals in large parts of the archipelago would not be able to cope with the rising number of infections.
On Monday, the Indonesian Medical Association said 100 doctors have died due to COVID-19 since the country recorded its first COVID-19 cases in March.
The president expressed his condolences during the meeting with journalists.
“I want to send my condolences for the deaths of many medical workers in Indonesia,” he said.
He added that he appreciated the contribution of healthcare employees who have continued to worked hard despite exhaustion.