Jakarta. The number of Covid-19 cases in Indonesia jumped by 337 – more than 10 percent of the total confirmed cases so far of 3,293 – in yet another record daily surge on Thursday.
The previous highest daily surge was the 246 new cases recorded two days ago.
Forty patients have died over the last 24 hours – also the highest number of deaths in a day – to bring the total death toll to 280, while only 252 patients have recovered, Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Achmad Yurianto announced on Thursday.
"This forms a very sad picture for us because we know that transmissions continue to happen out there," Achmad said in his daily teleconference briefing in Jakarta.
"The numbers we're announcing today represent more or less what has been happening over the past week because we've learned that the average incubation period of the virus is around five to six days. Hopefully, the instruction for all citizens to wear face masks when out in public will deliver results, but we'll have to wait and see," Achmad said.
He said the task force has conducted over 16,500 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests across the country for more accurate results in identifying positive cases.
"We now have more than 300 hospitals designated for Covid-19 patients, more than 35,000 doctors and 42,000 beds," he said.
"We've also received Rp 193 billion [$12 million] in donation from local communities and from abroad," Achmad said.
His remarks came on the day when Jakarta, home to around 50 percent of Indonesia's coronavirus cases, began intensifying restrictions on travel and public gatherings under its large-scale social distancing policy.
Separately, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced a relief package of Rp 104.5 trillion ($6.6 billion) to help ease the economic impact from the outbreak among low-income families.
The package is intended to provide basic goods for poor families and help them pay their utility bills.
"The pandemic has impacted a vast array of communities, including business people, civil servants, factory workers, taxi and bus drivers and more," the president said in a teleconference from the State Palace in Jakarta.
He said all civil servants, police officers and soldiers in Greater Jakarta are now banned from next month's mudik, the annual Idul Fitri exodus, to contain the spread of Covid-19.
But the president was not in a hurry to expand the ban to all residents of the capital and its surrounding cities – Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi – which have become the country's outbreak epicenter.
"We will evaluate [the situation] day by day before a decision is made. All I can say today is that civil servants, police and soldiers must not return to their hometowns for Idul Fitri," the president said.
Jokowi has also not expanded Jakarta's semi-lockdown status to its satellite cities, saying he would have to make a more careful calculation before imposing the stricter restrictions in Bogor, Depok and Bekasi in West Java and Tangerang in Banten.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has requested the three cities to also be placed under the large-scale social distancing policy.