Budi Gunadi Sadikin (Antara Photo)
New Health Minister Vows Greater Focus on Coronavirus Response
BY :LENNY TRISTIA TAMBUN & HERU ANDRIYANTO
DECEMBER 23, 2020
Jakarta. Newly-appointed Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin promised a revamped campaign against coronavirus to get some normalcy back to the lives of the Indonesian people, as newly cases and death toll are rising to a new level.
Shortly after being introduced as a new member of the cabinet by President Joko Widodo on Tuesday, Budi said his immediate responsibility is to tackle the raging virus “in the quickest and best way possible”.
“So that students can return to their schools, small and medium-scaled entrepreneurs can reopen their shops and businesses can regain ground to propel the national economy,” Budi said.
The nuclear physics graduate of the Bandung Institute Technology is the country’s first health minister without a formal medical background since the late 1940s.
His predecessor, Terawan Agus Putranto, has earlier become a subject of criticisms for playing down the severity of the outbreak and slow response to international warning about the highly contagious nature of the virus in the wake of the global pandemic.
Budi’s remarks came when the country is in its worst month of the outbreak, with record-breaking newly cases and death toll.
Indonesia has added more cases month to date than the record for the highest monthly total recorded last month.
There have been 139,242 cases since Dec. 1 to take the country’s total to 678,125, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry. The previous monthly high was 128,795 cases reported in November.
The seven-day average stood at 6,957 on Tuesday to set a new record for the sixth day in a row.
A dramatic surge in newly cases means that the country extends the record in the total number of active cases, which currently stands at 105,146.
The four most populous provinces in Java -- Jakarta, East Java, West Java and Central Java -- are home to 58 percent of the overall cases countrywide.
Jakarta has been averaging over 1,300 cases since the beginning of the month to take its total to 165,888.
West Java is the second province with a four-digit average and ranked third with a total of 75,589 cases.
East Java has the second-highest total number of cases with 76,817. It has added nearly 15,000 cases month to date, in comparison to its November total of around 9,400 cases.
Central Java has been averaging nearly 800 cases since Dec. 1, bringing its total number of cases to 73,423.
In the second group of worst-affected provinces, newly cases are in a steady rise in South Sulawesi and Banten.
The growth rate of cases in other hotspots like Riau, Bali and West Sumatra is relatively flat but they still averages more than 100 cases.
The virus has killed 20,257 people countrywide since the outbreak started. Daily death toll has been in the three-digit territory for 31 consecutive days, the deadliest period ever in the Indonesian outbreak.
East Java leads the overall death toll with a total of 5,303 Covid deaths, 49 more than the previous day.
Jakarta comes next with a total of 3,101 deaths, a tiny percentage from its huge number in confirmed cases.
Central Java is third with a total of 2,972 deaths, but it has been outpacing Jakarta in the daily casualty toll over the last few weeks.