East Java Gets President's Attention as Coronavirus Cases in the Province Close In on Jakarta's
Jakarta. East Java reported yet another highest rise of coronavirus infections compared to other provinces on Wednesday and is getting nearer to Jakarta as the most-affected province.
Of 686 new cases countrywide, 199 came from East Java, which now has 4,142 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The province had only 1,502 cases when it overtook West Java as the second most-affected province on May 10.
Since then, coronavirus cases in East Java have soared by 175.8 percent.
During the same period, new cases in Jakarta grew by only 32.8 percent to 6,895 cases. Between May 10 and today, East Java has reduced the gap from 3,688 to 2,753 cases.
The recent spike of new infections in East Java has prompted President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to order intensified measures in the province.
"I've asked the health minister and the Covid-19 Task Force chief to pay attention to East Java," Jokowi said during a cabinet meeting at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.
"East Java needs our help and full support, especially to construct makeshift hospitals [for Covid-19]," the president said.
Jokowi also pointed out to several provinces outside Java that have reported significant increases of new cases in recent days, including South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, S]outh Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara and Papua.
Indonesia now has 23,851 confirmed cases of Covid-19, including 1,473 deaths and 6,057 recovered patients.
Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said close to 50,000 persons remain under surveillance for suspected infections and more than 12,600 patients have been classified as probable cases as they wait to be tested.
Earlier on Tuesday, infectious disease expert Wiku Adisasmito said the country was not ready for reopening and should not do so until daily cases drop by more than 50 percent from its previous peak for at least two weeks.
"Jakarta is on a downward trend but cases in East Java are peaking," Wisnu said.
The lead expert of the Covid-19 Task Force said a second wave of infections may hit Jakarta if people from other provinces come to the capital city after the Idul Fitri holiday.