Hundreds of people stage a rally against the newly-adopted job creation law on Jalan Pejompongan Raya, West Jakarta on Oct. 78, 2020. Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Rallies against Job Creation Law May Trigger Wave of Covid Infections


OCTOBER 10, 2020

Jakarta. Officials expressed concern that recent mass protests against the newly-adopted job creation law may trigger a new wave of coronavirus transmissions across the country.

Thousands of protesters, many without face coverings, have staged rallies in big cities where the virus is raging on, including Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung.

“We are concerned that the recent rallies could trigger a spike in new cases of coronavirus within a week or two,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said on Saturday.

The governor himself was present among the crowd as he tried to calm the protesters around the Hotel Indonesia Circle on Thursday night. A day later, he said he respects “freedom of expression” and that rallies are protected by the constitution, despite 46 bus shelters in the capital having been destroyed by the mob.

Speaking separately, National Covid-19 Task Force Head Doni Monardo said a number of protesters have tested positive for the virus while in police custody in several provinces, but he didn’t go into details.

“I must let the public know about this because we want them to refrain from getting into a crowd. Many infected persons have shown no symptoms but they could pose a danger to their close relatives with preexisting conditions," he said.

Indonesia has recorded nearly 329,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Saturday, including 11,765 deaths. The country has been averaging 4,194 cases since the beginning of the month as the upward trend in newly cases continues.

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Jakarta is bearing the brunt of the Indonesian pandemic, with more than 85,500 cases of the virus and 1,871 deaths. It’s the only province to average four digits in daily numbers, including 1,259 cases on Saturday.

East Java has been experiencing resurgence in cases in the last four days with seven-day average nearing 300. It has a total of 46,715 cases and 404 Covid-19 deaths, the country’s highest death toll.

West Java has outpaced both East and Central Java with an average of 483 cases in the last ten days, taking its total to 27,031. 

Central Java is ranked fourth among worst-affected provinces, with a total of 26,083 cases, including 1,499 deaths.

Riau and West Sumatra
Two provinces in Sumatra, Riau and West Sumatra, have recorded the biggest daily numbers apart from the top four. Both have been averaging more than 200 cases month-to-date, already above the daily numbers in other hotspots like South Sulawesi, South and East Kalimantan, North Sumatra and Bali, which have more number of cases in total.

Riau had only around 1,800 cases in late August but has since recorded a dramatic surge in cases to take its total to 9,661 on Saturday. The oil-rich province is now among the top ten of worst-affected provinces, while West Sumatra is ranked just behind it.

(Click for a full view)
(Click for a full view)

Meanwhile, Bali became the ninth province to pass the 10,000 mark after adding 131 new cases on Saturday. The resort island has been averaging 115 cases in the last 10 days, down slightly from an average of 122 in September.

South Sulawesi, which has a total of around 16,500 cases in fifth place, have seen daily average return to the three-digit territory in the last four days, including a record 213 cases on Thursday.

Newly cases are slowing in North Sumatra (11,247 cases) and South Kalimantan (10,950), averaging 93 cases and 60, respectively, month-to-date.

However, East Kalimantan has had an uptick in cases with an average of 182 cases in the last 10 days, in comparison to an average of 147 in September.

Overall, Indonesia has 65,706 active cases of the virus or 20 percent of total cases, while the number of cured patients stands at 251,481 as of Saturday.