Residents in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, sunbathe on a railway track on April 10. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Indonesia Raises Concerns of Higher Poverty Rate as Outbreak Refuses to Flatten


MAY 08, 2020

Jakarta. The Indonesian government has expressed concerns poverty rate in the country could climb to 12 percent from the current 9.2 percent due to the coronavirus outbreak, as confirmed cases of Covid-19 continued to spike on Friday.

The Covid-19 Task Force reported a total of 13,112 confirmed cases on Friday, 336 more from a day earlier.

Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara said the government is compiling data on citizens falling into poverty during the pandemic.

He did not challenge findings by independent research groups that the poverty rate might climb to between 10 and 12 percent out of the country's population of 272 million.

"We're still collecting data on the number of citizens [who have recently fallen into poverty]. The social safety net program had just been rolled out, so we don't have an exact figure for the time being," Juliari said in a video conference from the State Palace in Central Jakarta.

"We are expecting an increase in the poverty rate due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Several surveys have suggested the poverty rate could grow to 10 percent, others put the figure at 12 percent," he said.

In a separate press conference, task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said 21 provinces had reported new cases over the past 24 hours, with the daily figure in Jakarta, the epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak, returning to three digits.

Jakarta reported 100 new cases to take the city's total to 4,955, while 20 other provinces reported fewer than 30 new cases since Thursday.

"A total of 113 more patients have recovered to bring the total number of recoveries to 2,494. However, the death toll also increased by 13 to 943," Achmad said.

Mass polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based testing has now been conducted on more than 103,000 people, he said.

The number of probable Covid-19 cases at hospitals also increased by 579 to 29,087 patients. Achmad said 356 of the country's 514 districts and cities have now had confirmed cases of coronavirus.