Indonesia reported 82 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, its largest daily increase, while President Joko Widodo regretted that many residents of the capital had ignored social distancing measures.
The total number of confirmed infections now stands at 309, said government spokesman on the management of Covid-19, Achmad Yurianto. He added that the death toll had increased from six to 25, most of them in Jakarta. Provinces such as West Java, East Java and the Riau Islands have also reported new cases.
Joko and his wife, First Lady Iriana, also announced yesterday that they have tested negative for the coronavirus, after Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi was confirmed last week as infected.
The increase in the number of deaths from the coronavirus comes as Joko said that the country’s social distancing measures had not been taken seriously by many people in Jakarta.
“Measures of home study, homework, prayer at home should not be taken as an opportunity to go on vacation,” said Joko yesterday before meeting with ministers to fight the pandemic of Covid-19.
The measures, announced last Saturday, saw the Jakarta provincial government close all schools in the city of more than 10 million people for two weeks.
Popular tourist sites such as the Taman Impian Jaya Ancol theme park and the national monument have also been closed.
“I noticed that last week people flocked to Carita Beach (a two hour drive from Jakarta) and Puncak (hill station near Bogor), both of which saw more visitors. Crowds pose an increased risk of spreading Covid-19 “, warned Joko.
He also asked the Covid-19 task force to use rapid tests to allow early detection of infections, and said he hoped the testing tools would be widely available.
Achmad said Wednesday that the rapid tests would take blood serum as a sample and could be done by clinical laboratories nationwide.
So far, Indonesia has used polymerase chain reaction and genome sequencing tests, which require nasal and throat swabs and sputum samples.
Meanwhile, the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta – the largest in Southeast Asia – decided last night that it would not perform Friday prayers today, when it said earlier that she would go ahead.
While some in Jakarta have left the capital, others have restricted their movements, showed the Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit ridership figures released yesterday.
Passengers using the commuter train service to and from Jakarta fell to around 700,000 per day from 1.2 million per day.
In southern Sulawesi province, organizers of a major religious event – the rally of Ijtima Jamaah Tabligh – which was to start yesterday, were convinced by the authorities to cancel it at the last minute.
But fears of a spread of the coronavirus persist, as more than 8,000 Muslim pilgrims, including more than 400 from abroad, are already in the provincial city of Gowa.
They returned home yesterday via the airport and the nearby Makassar seaport.
Authorities in Thailand have reported 60 new infections, the largest daily jump to date, bringing the total number of cases to 272. She has recorded one death since the epidemic.
The Philippines said yesterday that it has stopped issuing visas, barring all foreign nationalities from entering the country, but did not provide a schedule. To date, there have been 217 cases and 17 deaths.