Two medical workers inspect convalescent plasma donated by Covid-19 survivors at Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital in Jakarta on August 18, 2020. The hospital applies convalescent plasma transfusion as the treatment of Covid-19 patients. (Antara Photo/Nova Wahyudi)

Seven Provinces Account for Over 70 pct of Indonesia Coronavirus Cases 


AUGUST 20, 2020

Jakarta. While most of Asian countries have been past their peak in the coronavirus outbreak -- despite some of them seeing a second wave -- Indonesia keeps an upward trend in its curve since first cases were detected in March.

The country averaged 527 cases in May, 997 in June, 1,677 in July and 1,925 month-to-date.

It added 1,902 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 144,945, according to the National Covid-19 Task Force.

Its territorial size -- an archipelago of thousands of islands -- and a population of more than 260 million people have complicated efforts to expand testing capacity and contact tracing equally among all 34 provinces.

However, if we look at statistics, the key battleground provinces can actually be narrowed down to just seven that the government should focus on. Four of them are located on the same island. 

Combined cases in Jakarta, East Java, Central Java, West Java, South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan and North Sumatra have totaled 105,095 since the outbreak, accounting for 73 percent of overall cases.

Add the Pace

New infections in five of those provinces gained pace when August came.

Since the beginning of the month, Jakarta has been averaging 506 cases, followed by East Java with 358 cases, Central Java (127), West Java (119), North Sumatra (104), South Sulawesi (95) and South Kalimantan (67). The last two provinces appeared to have reached their peak and contained the daily average below the three-digit figure.

But Jakarta has seen resurgence since mid-July, while cases in Central Java began to surge in June and North Sumatra saw an uptick in cases late last month to emerge as new hotspot today.

West Java has seen a surge in cases only recently, while transmission rate in East Java has yet to slow down after more than three months.

Since August 1, those seven provinces combined have added more than 26,000 cases, making up 71 percent of the national count in the same period.

Jakarta has been on a roller-coaster since the beginning. It was the only epicenter of the Indonesian outbreak before allowing East Java to overtake in late June. 

But the capital regained its place as the province with the most cases around two weeks ago and has since extended their gap to more than 2,000 cases today.

The capital city has registered more than 31,000 cases including 1,032 deaths as of Wednesday.

East Java is the second worst-affected province with 28,886 cases but it has twice as many Covid-19 deaths as in Jakarta. The death toll in East Java is put at 2,074.

Central Java has outpaced South Sulawesi since last month and rose to the third place in the beginning of the month. 

With 11,219 cases, South Sulawesi remained at the top four of worst-hit provinces but cases have begun to slow. It added around 1,800 cases month-to-date, in comparison to the 2,257 cases accumulated by West Java in the same period.

West Java, the country’s most populous province, has recorded 8,789 cases since the outbreak. By comparison, Jakarta has accumulated 9,617 cases during the last 19 days alone.

North Sumatra recorded just around 1,600 cases on July 1, but the virus has since been spreading fast in the province to reach almost 5,900 today.

It shares the same story as Central Java: the outbreak seemed to be containable in the first couple of months of the outbreak, but when the surge hits, the transmission is spiraling beyond control.

South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan experienced just the opposite. They were hit badly by the virus early on but the growth of cases began to slow after five months.

The number of recoveries has been encouraging in the last two months, often beating the number of new cases. A total of 98,657 Covid-19 patients have been cured or discharged from hospitals, representing 68.1 percent of total cases.

Recovered patients have outnumbered active cases since mid-July.

The national death toll in the outbreak stood at 6,346 on Wednesday, or 4.4 percent in proportion to the number of cases.