Here’s a stark update from our Asia Correspondent, Nicola Smith, about the unfolding crisis in Indonesia – experts have warned the nation is on track to become one of the worst coronavirus-afflicted countries in the world.
The Southeast Asian country has seen cases and deaths double as citizens re-emerge from a lockdown during a government effort to reboot the economy. As of Sunday, Indonesia had recorded 86,521 total cases and 4,143 deaths, twice the cumulative figure from the previous month, reported the Jakarta Post.
On Saturday, the case count had exceeded the official tally in China for the first time after large-scale social restrictions were lifted in early June.
Riris Andono Ahmad, an epidemiologist from Gadjah Mada University, told the Post that the country to become one of the worst hit in the world if there was no intervention, pointing to risk factors like boarding schools, which drew people from all over the country.
Confirmed Covid-19 hotspots have now spread outside of the capital, Jakarta, to East Java, Central Java, South Sulawesi and South Kalimantan.
“There must be tough enforcement from the government and popular awareness if [people] don’t want to prolong the pandemic. The problem is that there is sometimes resistance, and with the large number of people there, there has to be bargaining in prevention efforts,” he said.