A health worker wearing double face mask during rapid testing for coronavirus at Ministry of Transportation building on Monday (20/04). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Indonesia Claims Covid Cold Chain Nears Completion as New Cases Pass 5,000 Again


NOVEMBER 28, 2020

Jakarta. The National Covid-19 Task Force claimed on Saturday that the preparation for the distribution network of vaccines against coronavirus is almost complete, as the surge in newly cases continues.

Indonesia has recorded 5,418 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 527,999. It’s for the fifth time this month that daily numbers have exceeded 5,000.

The seven-day average of newly cases has broken records for the sixth day in a row now. The total number of active cases keeps setting a new high, standing at more than 69,300 at present.

The virus has killed 16,646 people since the outbreak began in the country.

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While an effective vaccine is regarded as the game changer in the country’s desperate attempts to slow down transmissions, it’s facing a daunting task of establishing a system to distribute vaccine at low temperature, known as “cold chain”, across the world’s largest archipelago.

However, the task force said the cold supply chain has been largely in place.

“The preparation for cold chain has reached 97 percent across Indonesia,” task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said in a video conference.

“The central and regional governments continue to coordinate our efforts in preparing human resources needed for the Covid-19 vaccination program,” he added.

The government has secured a supply of at least 160 million doses of vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical companies for shipments starting from late December.

It has targeted to vaccinate 135 million people next year, each will receive two doses of the vaccine.

More than 1,600 volunteers are currently taking part in the phase 3 clinical trial of Sinovac vaccine in the West Java capital of Bandung.

The country has indicated that it's unlikely to procure vaccine developed by American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer and German biotechnology company Biopharmaceutical New Technologies, or BioNTech, as it  must be kept at –70 degrees C. 

Wiku said the task force is finalizing the priority list of provinces to receive the vaccine in the first batch, depending on their caseloads in proportion to population size.

Worst-Hit Provinces
Jakarta is the hardest hit by the highly contagious disease with a total of 134,331 cases, including 2,622 deaths. 

After a declining trend in newly cases for around three weeks, the capital city saw resurgence in transmissions in the mid of the month and has since reported daily numbers above 1,000. It has been averaging 1,026 cases month to date.

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Central Java saw the steepest rise in cases among worst-affected provinces in the country’s most crowded island of Java. It became only the second province to report a four-digit daily count around two weeks ago and has added 19,000 new cases since the beginning of the month.

Central Java has a total of 52,961 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,267 deaths, both are the third-biggest figure at the national level.

It averages 680 cases, against last month's 370.

West Java also saw an uptick in newly cases when compared to last month, with an average of 543 cases this month for a total of 51,548.

Despite having reported smaller caseloads than those of the three provinces, East Java remains in the second place with a total of 61,071 cases, including the country’s highest death toll of 4,346.

The seven-day average of newly cases in East Java has been climbing in the last 10 days, from 298 to 384.

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Other Hotspots
East Kalimantan, Riau and neighboring West Sumatra have added around 5,000 cases each since November 1.

East Kalimantan registered 220 more cases on Saturday to take its total to 19,301.

Riau recorded 170 new cases for a total of 19,766 while West Sumatra reported another 186 new infections to bring its total number of cases to 19,676.

The three provinces have been outpacing South Sulawesi, currently ranked fifth with over 20,000 cases, and are set to overtake early next month if this trend continues.

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Banten, a neighbor to Jakarta, has been increasingly becoming a new hotspot and moving closer to the group of ten worst-affected provinces with an average of 113 cases, higher than that of North Sumatra and Bali.

Banten has a total of 12,648 cases in comparison to 15,420 cases in North Sumatra and 13,681 cases in Bali.

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