Indonesia reports its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 infections

JAKARTA: Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases on Saturday (Sep 19), taking the total to 240,687, data from the country’s health ministry showed.

Another 112 people have died from COVID-19, taking the total fatalities to 9,448, the biggest death toll in Southeast Asia.

Jakarta’s governor Anies Baswedan said on Thursday that the country’s capital plans to double its COVID-19 testing capacity in the near future.

Jakarta alone has seen more than 1,000 new daily cases on average this month, more than double the average in the first half of August, with the tide of infections piling pressure on its under-resourced health sector.

Baswedan said in an interview that the city of 10 million was conducting about 50,000 coronavirus tests daily and hopes to “at least reach double from where we are today”.

READ: Return to Jakarta lockdown will hit economy this quarter, but bitter pill needs to be swallowed: Economists

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Jakarta’s weekly testing rate of five-and-a-half to six people per 1,000 population in the past three weeks was five times the WHO’s minimum benchmark.

Baswedan said the rapid case rise left him no choice but to bring back social restrictions that he eased in June, with limits on commerce, transport and places of worship re-imposed.

Indonesia’s House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani said on Thursday that government institutions must set examples of disciplined health protocols, following the emergence of COVID-19 clusters at key ministries.

Madam Maharani said COVID-19 has spread to 30 ministerial offices and agencies in the capital, based on data from the Jakarta government.

READ: COVID-19 cluster in Indonesia’s health ministry prompts calls for government institutions to set example of strict protocols

“The high number of COVID-19 cases in these office clusters is very worrying. 

“Government offices must set an example of complying with disciplined health protocols,” added Mdm Maharani.  

The parliament speaker called for institutions, both at the national and regional levels, to evaluate and control the implementation of health protocols in their respective offices.

“Do not let government offices become a bad example of the implementation of health protocols,” she said.

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