| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Indonesia to finalize emergency COVID-19 measures on Wednesday

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that Indonesia is finalizing emergency social restrictions aimed at curbing a surge in coronavirus cases in the world’s fourth most populated country.

“It will be finalized today because the increase is quite high,” President Jokowi said at an event held by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, stressing that the limits would be imposed on the islands of Java and Bali.

Authorities are debating whether to maintain the tighter limits in place for a week or two weeks, according to Jokowi, who did not specify when the new action will be announced.

Indonesia has reported record rates of COVID-19 infections of more than 20,000 in recent days, in a new wave fueled by the emergence of highly transmissible virus variants and increased mobility after the Muslim fasting month.

Movement curbs were tightened last week in so called “red zone” areas where cases have jumped, but health experts said these have not been sufficient to stop the spread of the virus.

The hospital bed occupancy ratio was 72% nationally, Jokowi said, but local authorities say rates were higher in several cities including Jakarta, where medical emergency units have been shifted to tents outside hospitals.

“I ask that we all be careful and don’t let our guard down. Don’t just talk about the economy, while we don’t see the health aspect,” Jokowi said.

The president has previously resisted calls from health experts for full lockdowns and warned last week that curbs should be implemented so that they avoid “killing” the economy.

Jokowi also promised on Wednesday to speed up the country’s immunization campaign, with a goal of one million doses per day in July and two million doses in August.

He noted that vaccination rates had recently fallen short of 200,000 to 300,000 doses per day, saying, “There is no negotiation.”

Only 13 million Indonesians have taken two doses of the vaccination. By January 2022, 181.5 million people out of a population of over 270 million would have been vaccinated.

On Tuesday, Indonesia recorded 20,467 new infections and 463 new deaths, increasing the total number of cases to 2.16 million and nearly 58,000 deaths.

  • Reuters