Medical workers open drive-through coronavirus diagnostic testing site in Cilandak, South Jakarta, on Oct. 26, 2020. (Beritasatu Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)
Three Hundred Days into Coronavirus Outbreak, Things Have Gone from Bad to Worse
BY :HERU ANDRIYANTO
DECEMBER 26, 2020
Jakarta. Indonesia has recorded the highest monthly total of coronavirus cases and deaths since Dec. 1 and marked the 300th day since the first cases were confirmed on March 2 without knowing exactly what to do to cope with raging infections in key provinces.
President Joko Widodo replaced Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto earlier this week but it remains to be seen whether his successor Budi Gunadi Sadikin, who has never attended a medical school, can make immediate impacts amid growing frustration due to ongoing surge in newly cases and deaths.
It seems that Budi’s appointment reflects a shift in the government focus from emergency medical response to a full preparation for the much-awaited vaccination, seen by many top officials here as the “game changer” in the desperate fight against the highly contagious disease.
The government has sealed supply commitment for millions of doses of the vaccine mainly from Chinese pharmaceutical companies.
Indonesia has recorded a total of 706,837 cases as of Saturday with newly cases growing at a much faster speed than in previous months.
It has been averaging 6,460 cases since December, in comparison to the average of 4,293 during the previous monthly high in November.
The number of active cases has more than doubled to 109,150 from the figure in the end of November.
The virus has killed more than 4,000 people in the 26-day period, already beating the previous record for the highest monthly death toll which stood at 3,323 in September.
A total of 20,994 people have died from the virus in 300 days since the outbreak.
The daily death toll has been in the three-digit territory for the 35th straight day. The previous longest run was only 12 days in September.
East Java has the highest death toll with a total of 5,535 Covid deaths.
Central Java has recorded 20 more deaths in the last 24 hours to level Jakarta, with both recording a total of 3,167 deaths each.
West Java reported zero coronavirus-related deaths for the second day in a row, with a total of 1,114 deaths.
No other province outside the four giants has passed 1,000 deaths.
Jakarta is where the virus has found a breeding ground since the early stage of the Indonesian outbreak. The capital city has more cases than those in East and West Java combined.
The city’s top three officials have earlier diagnosed of having the virus, including Governor Anies Baswedan and his deputy Ahmad Riza Patria.
Jakarta government secretary Saefullah died from the virus in September.
Daily numbers in the city has topped 2,000 in the last two days, bringing the total number of cases to 173,929 or 24.6 percent of the national tally.
East Java has seen a dramatic surge in newly cases since early this month and topped 80,000 cases on Saturday. Since the beginning of the month, it has added nearly twice the total cases in November
West Java also sees an uptick in cases and becomes only the second province after Jakarta to average more than 1,000 cases so far this month. It has added 26,181 cases since Dec. 1, around 10,000 more than its November total, to take the province’s total to 78,698.
Central Java has been averaging 812 cases since the beginning of the month, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 77,008.
Coronavirus cases are rising fast in South Sulawesi, which averages 316 cases month to date. Last month, its average of daily numbers stood at a mere 77.
South Sulawesi has recorded a total of 28,863 cases and 575 deaths since the outbreak. Its seven-day average currently tops 500, the highest outside the most-crowded island of Java.
The nearest growth of newly cases in the second group of hotspots is occuring in East Kalimantan, which has been averaging 237 cases since the start of the month.
East Kalimantan is ranked sixth just below South Sulawesi among worst-affected provinces, with a total 25,770 cases.
Several other hotpots in the top ten, such as Riau, North Sumatra and West Sumatra, have seen a downward trend in the curve.
However, other provinces are emerging fast as new hotspots, including Banten, Yogyakarta and Central Kalimantan.