Motorcyclists ride along Yellow Bridge connecting Nusa Lembongan Island and Bali Island on August 29, 2021. (Antara Photo/Fikri Yusuf)

Covid-19 Surge Slows but Bali, Yogyakarta Remain Under Highest Alert Level


AUGUST 30, 2021

Jakarta. The surge in new Covid-19 cases continues to slow in Indonesia who reported the lowest daily tally in nearly three months on Monday, but famous resort island Bali and Yogyakarta province in southern Java are still considered as high-risk areas.

The country added 5,436 new cases for a total of 4,079,267, government figures show. It’s the lowest daily count since June 4, according to the Jakarta Globe tally.

A further 568 Covid-related deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 132,491. Indonesia currently has the highest fatality rate in the Covid-19 pandemic according to trusted international institutions tracking global pandemic data.

The total number of active cases falls further to 203,060, in a sharp contrast to the more than 580,000 active cases recorded during the peak of the Delta variant outbreak in late July.

Despite major improvements of the pandemic situation, the government said on Monday restrictions will remain in place although some will be relaxed.

Jakarta, for instance, is allowed to reopen more than 600 elementary and high schools with strict health protocols and capacity limits.

The alert level in most parts of Java including Greater Jakarta has been lowered to level three but Yogyakarta and Bali Island are still under level four – the highest of the government’s Covid alert system, Coordinating Minister for Investment and Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan said in a video conference.

“But the alert level for these two provinces can be lowered to level three in the coming days in my opinion,” said Luhut, who is in charge of Covid-19 response across Java and Bali.

The virus was spreading faster in Bali as many patients opted to self isolate at homes instead of staying at government-appointed isolation facilities with better medical treatment, Luhut said.

“Especially for Bali, the president has instructed us to monitor closely and make intervention in the ground,” he added.

Yogyakarta currently has nearly 13,000 active cases while Bali has more than 6,400 active cases.

The community restrictions across Java, Bali and 45 cities and districts beyond the two islands have been reimposed since July 3 amid a dramatic surge in newly cases and deaths as a result from the Delta variant outbreak.

But Luhut claimed the restrictions have been very effective in curbing new infections, although the death toll remains dangerously high.

“The number of new cases has dropped by 90.4 percent at the national level and by 94 percent in Java and Bali since the July 15 peak,” Luhut said.