Indonesia Prepares For The Worst: 700,000 Cases

Could Indonesia be the next Covid-19 epicentre?

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — As countries around the Southeast Asia region grapple with the spread of Covid-19, and the political and socio-economical consequences of imposing unprecedented lockdowns, Indonesia has struggled to find its footing after months of dithering.

On Friday, it recorded 153 new cases, making it the largest increase in a single day thus far. Authorities have confirmed that there are now 1,046 COVID-19 positive cases with 87 deaths.

At 8 per cent, Indonesia currently has the second-highest COVID-19 mortality rate in the world. The highest is from Italy at 9 per cent, with Iran and Spain at 7.8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. The global average rate is around 4 per cent.

Many of the current fatalities in Indonesia are among individuals between 45 and 65 years of age with other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Thus far, 46 patients have made a full recovery.

In contrast to many of its neighbours, Indonesia has not yet imposed a national lock-down to contain the spread of the coronavirus. However, a week ago, the governor of Jakarta declared a state of emergency in the capital for the next two weeks and social distancing campaigns have begun

Reports indicate that Indonesian hospitals are in dire need of much of the medical facilities needed to fight the disease, from personal protection equipment (PPEs) to intensive care units (ICUs), isolation rooms and ventilators.

The coronavirus is also claiming the lives of vital skilled healthcare workers who are limited in numbers and desperately needed.

By the time Indonesia finally admitted to having Covid-19 infections earlier this month, the spread of the virus had gone from 2 confirmed cases to 1046 in the span of just three weeks. The possibility of community spread and undetected infections is high.

The Jakarta Post reported that it has been estimated that without major intervention by the end of April, there would be 71,000 cases across Indonesia.

However, a projection based on the country’s population of 270 million by the Indonesian government has indicated the likelihood of around 700,000 people who would have come in contact with those who are confirmed positive. They would also be at risk of contracting the virus.

The current worldwide figure is currently over 500,000.

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