JAKARTA (The Straits Times/ANN): Indonesia has surpassed Indias daily Covid-19 case numbers after it reported a record of nearly 50, 000 cases on Tuesday (July 14) and its health minister said the daily new cases will continue to spike in the coming days.
This is due to more reporting from provinces, as well as more rigorous testing and contact-tracing, said health minister Budi Sadikin.
The world’s fourth most populous country is ramping up its Covid-19 testing towards 400, 000 tests a day, after having boosted earlier from 30, 000 to 200, 000 tests a day, he told a Parliament hearing late Tuesday (July 13).
Contact tracing efforts are also being ramped up.
The worst-hit country in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is facing a challenge from a number of errant provinces, cities and regencies that are not reporting their Covid-19 cases timely and transparently.
Indonesia has 34 provinces that consist of more than 500 cities and regencies across more than 17, 000 islands.
The health ministry has urged heads of these regions to improve their reporting of Covid-19 cases.
Like in many other countries, Indonesia is fighting to curb the Delta variant wave. The Delta variant, which was first detected in India and found to be more transmissible, has spread to more than 100 countries, including those with high vaccination rates.
“It would be better to report the situation as it is. What happened earlier was underreporting. There weren’t as many confirmed cases reported, but all of a sudden there was a massive influx of patients in hospitals, ” Budi said at an open hearing with the Parliament’s health committee.
He added that if the national government could get a clearer picture of the situation, it could respond better – by identifying the clusters fast and doing more effective contact tracing.
Budi’s remarks came as the country’s daily Covid-19 cases hit a new record of nearly 50, 000 on Tuesday. There were 47, 899 new infections on Tuesday and 40, 427 cases on Monday, the first time case numbers exceeded 40, 000 for two straight days.
India, with a population roughly five times the size of Indonesias 270 million people, saw daily infections drop below 33, 000 on Tuesday as its devastating outbreak wanes.
As of Tuesday, Indonesia has recorded 2.61 million total Covid-19 infections and 68, 219 deaths.
Budi also urged people to refrain from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons, stressing that failing to do so would add more pressure to hospitals that are already overstrained.
The stricter emergency social distancing rules imposed since early July has slowed mobility by only between 6 and 16 per cent, while a minimum of 20 per cent is required to ease the pressure on hospitals, Budi added.
“Please reduce your activity. This virus, Delta variant, spreads quickly, ” Budi urged, adding that the success in getting out of the current wave depends on the public’s discipline in reducing their mobility.
He also stressed that Indonesia would likely continue to increase beds for Covid-19 patients until end-July.
He noted the Delta variant has spread outside Java, with cases confirmed in five locations in Sumatra, two locations in Kalimantan, two in Sulawesi, one each in Papua and Nusa Tenggara.
“I have told regions to monitor closely… and make preparations…to avoid case surges. Health facilities there (outlying regions) are far below Jakarta’s, or below Java’s, ” Budi said. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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