Indonesia reports biggest daily rise in COVID-19 infections

JAKARTA (CNA) – Indonesia reported its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases yesterday, 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”.

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 Maharani said on Thursday that government institutions must set examples of disciplined health protocols, following the emergence of COVID-19 clusters at key ministries.

A man passes a monitor screen which honours health workers in Jakarta. PHOTO: AP