President Joko Widodo, right, visits a public health center (puskesmas) in Bogor, West Java, on Nov. 18, 2020 to inspect coronavirus vaccination drill. (Photo Courtesy of Presidential Press Buerau)

Jokowi Expects Vaccination against Coronavirus to Start Next Month


NOVEMBER 18, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Wednesday expressed confidence that vaccination against coronavirus may start as soon as next month, as the number of confirmed cases is approaching half a million.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting a vaccination drill in Bogor, West Java, the president said the first batch of the vaccine, produced jointly with Chinese firms, is expected to arrive later this month but it will take weeks for preparations. 

"After seeing the drill first-hand, I’m able to estimate that vaccination can start in the end of this year or early next year,” Jokowi said.

Distribution of the vaccine across all 34 provinces may take extra works and time because it needs special treatment.

"Unlike other products, vaccine is not easy to distribute because it must be kept at a certain degree of temperature all along the way to the destination," he said.

Dramatic Surge
His remarks came as daily caseloads of the virus are approaching the level when the country reached its first peak in late September.

Indonesia has recorded a total of 478,720 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in early March. The current seven-day average stands at 4,372, just below the highest level of 4,379 reported on Sept. 26.

The virus has killed a total of 15,503 people in the country, 110 more from yesterday.

The recent surge in cases has driven up the total number of active cases to 60,870 or 12.7 percent of the overall cases.

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Jakarta has recorded 1,148 cases in the last 24 hours, the sixth day in a row it reported a four-digit daily number, to take its total to 121,818 -- more than any other provinces.

While Central and West Java reported a decline in newly cases, four other hotspots reported higher numbers than the previous day.

East Java registered 480 new cases, the highest in two months, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 57,237.

The province reported 27 more Covid-19 deaths in the 24-hour period, taking the total death toll to 4,068 -- the highest number of coronavirus-related casualties nationwide.

Central Java registered the lowest daily total in the last seven days, with 495 cases for a total of 45,295. However, the seven-day average in the province climbs to 874.

At least 2,080 people have died from coronavirus in the province since the outbreak.

West Java added 365 new cases for a total of 46,602, with the seven-day average trending down.

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West Sumatra, East Kalimantan and Riau reported more than 200 cases each, suggesting that the uptick in new cases is far from over.

The three provinces began to report a surge in caseloads in late August and have since climbed fast to reach the top ten of worst-affected provinces, with more than 17,000 cases each.

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