President Joko Widodo, center, inspects a shopping mall in Bekasi, West Java, on May 26, 2020.. (Antara Photo/Fakhri Hermansyah)

Jokowi Asks Covid-19 Task Force to Focus on Eight Worst-Hit Provinces


JULY 27, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday instructed the National Covid-19 Task Force to focus on eight provinces he said have contributed 74 percent to the overall confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Indonesia.

The eight include Jakarta, East Java, Central Java, West Java, South Sulawesi, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan and Papua.

Indonesia is set to become the 24th country in the world to accumulate more than 100,000 cases of the virus, which continues to spread fast in certain provinces.

“The targets are clear: reduce the death toll as low as possible, increase the recovery rate as high as possible and curb the growth of new cases as soon as possible,” the president said during a virtual cabinet meeting from the State Palace in Central Jakarta.

He also ordered the task force to ramp up mass testing and conduct more aggressive contact tracing. Jokowi has increased the target for daily testing capacity to 30,000 per day, from 20,000 earlier.

Jakarta has been leading the daily total among the country’s 34 provinces in the past two weeks, after it saw resurgence in new infections last month.

East Java, the hardest hit by the outbreak, experienced a surge in cases in May and the transmission rate has since gone out of control. It also has the highest death toll with over 1,500 Covid-19 deaths, more than double the fatalities in Jakarta. 

Surging cases in Central Java and North Sumatra have occurred since mid-June, while the virus has been raging on in South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan from the beginning to this day.

“The health and economic crises remain there and we must not let our guard down until an effective vaccine is available,” the president said.