Daily new COVID-19 caseload in Indonesia hits record high; total infections surpass 2 million

Daily new COVID-19 caseload in Indonesia hits record high; total infections surpass 2 million

FILE PHOTO: Healthcare workers put on personal protective equipment (PPE) as they prepare to treat
FILE PHOTO: Healthcare workers put on personal protective equipment (PPE) as they prepare to treat patients at the emergency hospital for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 17, 2021. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

JAKARTA: Indonesia reported on Monday (Jun 21) a record-breaking 14,536 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections nationally past the 2 million mark.

Cumulative total of cases now stands at 2,004,445. 

The country also saw 294 deaths in the past 24 hours, which brought the total fatalities nationwide to 54,956.

Jakarta led Monday's tally with 5,014 new cases and 74 deaths.

Since the archipelago announced its first COVID-19 cases in March last year, the highest daily infections logged was 14,518 at the end of January. 

The country has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks following last month’s Idul Fitri holidays.

Although authorities banned the annual exodus of people to their hometowns for the celebrations, many contravened the restrictions while crowds were seen at tourism spots during the period.

READ: Indonesia is preparing for spike in COVID-19 cases after Idul Fitri, says health minister 

The government has anticipated the rise by adding up to 72,000 isolation beds and 7,500 ICU beds, as previous holidays led to a significant increase of more than 60 per cent COVID-19 cases.

However, many hospitals and regions have reported a bed occupancy rate (BOR) of over 80 per cent in recent days with some regions even experiencing 90 per cent BOR.

One of the hardest-hit regions is Kudus in Central Java where more than 350 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

Virus Outbreak Indonesia
People wait in long lines to receive the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination at a football stadium in Bandung, West Java, on Jun 17, 2021. (Photo: AP/Bukbis Candra) ​​​​​​​

READ: WHO warns of fresh Indonesia COVID-19 surge fed by virus variants

They were mostly asymptomatic and local authorities say most of them have recovered. The outbreak is believed to be driven by the more contagious Delta variant, leading to the BOR in Kudus to be above 90 per cent.

In Jakarta, the BOR of its makeshift COVID-19 hospital is over 80 per cent, a stark contrast to the situation in mid-May where it was at 16.22 per cent, the lowest since it began operations last year.

Officials said new cases will continue to rise until the beginning of July as post-holidays cases tend to rise up to seven weeks, but experts warn the health system would collapse if no stringent measure is immediately taken to curb the virus.

NEW RESTRICTIONS TO KICK IN

Earlier on Monday, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartanto said that there are 87 districts or cities in which the hospitals have seen a BOR of at least 70 per cent.

They are spread out in 29 provinces out of the country's 34 provinces.

Thus, the government is going to restrict people’s movement starting Jun 22 until Jul 5, especially in 29 red zones within 12 provinces, he said.

In red zones which have reported a high number of cases, only 25 per cent of employees who work in non-essential sectors are allowed to work from the office. Seminars and meetings are not allowed and must be held online.

All students in red zones must also study from home.

A healthcare worker takes a swab sample to test a person for coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
A healthcare worker takes a swab sample to test a person for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Surabaya, East Java Province, Indonesia June 17, 2021, in this photo taken by Antara Foto/Didik Suhartono/via Reuters.

READ: Indonesia travel agencies offer queue-beating US COVID-19 'vaccination tours'

Moreover, restaurants in red zones can only be open until 8pm and dining in is only allowed with a maximum capacity of 25 per cent.

Malls can also only operate at 25 per cent of their capacity until 8pm.

Public places, tourist spots and houses of worship will all be closed in red zones. Public transport will be regulated according to local governments.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said if there are five households with positive cases in a particular neighbourhood, movement restrictions will be imposed.

He added that the government is trying to ramp up vaccination to curb COVID-19 and last week succeeded in inoculating at least 700,000 people daily.

Next month, the government aims to vaccinate at least one million people daily.

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Source: CNA/ks

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