A medical worker cleans a colleague's goggle during a mass rapid screening for coronavirus in Bogor, West Java, on April 7. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Jokowi Orders Stricter Measures as Coronavirus Spreads Fast in South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi


JUNE 04, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday ordered the National Covid-19 Task Force to pay closer attention to the spread of coronavirus in South Kalimantan and South Sulawesi, two provinces which along with East Java have been registering a faster speed of infection compared to other provinces and emerging as new epicenters of the outbreak in Indonesia.

The country reported 585 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total number of coronavirus infections to 28,818.

On Thursday, South Kalimantan surpassed South Sumatra to become the sixth most-affected province by the pandemic due to soaring cases in the past week.

Last month, South Sulawesi became the only province outside Java in the top five of provinces with the most coronavirus cases.

"I want the [Covid-19] Task Force, related ministries, the Indonesian Military and the National Police to concentrate on the three provinces where the number of transmissions has remained high. They are East Java, South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan," the president said in a video conference.

"We have to pay closer attention to them so we can contain the spread of the disease," he said.

The task force said 19 more Covid-19 patients died in the past 24 hours to take the total death toll from the disease to 1,721.

The number of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 increased significantly in the same period by 486 to a total of 8,892.

Overall, Jakarta has 7,690 cases of Covid-19, followed by East Java – the current epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak – with 5,408 cases, West Java (2,354), South Sulawesi (1,722), Central Java (1,479), South Kalimantan (1,142) and South Sumatra (1,056).

This is the first time South Kalimantan occupied the sixth position in the overall tally.

The rest of the country's 34 provinces have reported fewer than 1,000 cases each.

East Java replaced Jakarta as the new epicenter of the outbreak in mid-May and has since accumulated around 1,400 more cases than the capital city.

Separately, an aide of the president said Jokowi had doubled the target of daily Covid-19 testing to 20,000.

The new target was announced after the National Covid-19 Task Force managed to exceed the previous daily target of 10,000 consistently in the past week.

“Massive testing will allow us to get a more accurate picture of the outbreak. We have exceeded the previous testing target of 10,000 so now the president demands twice that figure and a more aggressive contact tracing," Donny Gahral Adian, a member of a team of experts at the presidential office, said during a webinar in Jakarta.

The remarks came when a number of provinces, including Jakarta and West Java, are beginning to gradually lift social restrictions to move to a so-called new normal.

"Under the new normal, we need more accurate assessments of how things stand in the pandemic. We can't make a mistake – we can't afford to think that everything is fine when the truth is we haven't even reached the pandemic peak," Donny said.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced on Thursday offices in the capital will be allowed to reopen on June 8 but shopping malls will remain closed until a week later.