Indonesia reports 1,031 new Covid cases, passing Singapore

Indonesia reports 1,031 new Covid cases, passing Singapore

A member of a university laboratory wearing protective gear collects a swab sample from a resident to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a community health centre in Banda Aceh on Wednesday. (AFP photo)
A member of a university laboratory wearing protective gear collects a swab sample from a resident to test for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a community health centre in Banda Aceh on Wednesday. (AFP photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia reported 1,031 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, taking the total to 41,431 and overtaking Singapore with the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said 45 more deaths were reported on Wednesday, taking the total number of fatalities to 2,276. Indonesia has the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia outside of China.

Indonesia has seen a surge in infections in recent weeks with the ramping up of virus testing as authorities began easing social distancing rules in capital Jakarta and other cities to revive an economy brought to a halt by the pandemic. President Joko Widodo and other officials have called for steps to prevent a second wave of infections and threatened to reimpose social distancing rules to contain the virus.

While majority of the infections in Singapore is from the migrant worker clusters, Indonesia has reported cases from all its 34 provinces spread across a chain of islands. The virus deaths in the country of almost 270 million people may be more than three times the official tally, according to LaporCovid-19 and KawalCOVID19, two open-source data platforms.

Indonesia is targeting to double the average daily testing soon to 20,000 as the disease will linger until a vaccine become available to everyone, according to Widodo. The country has only conducted polymerase chain reaction tests on 348,278 people, official data show, and there are more than 13,279 suspected patients still waiting to be diagnosed.

East Java, home to country’s second-largest city Surabaya, and South Sulawesi have emerged as the nation’s new hot spots for the virus. East Java, with an estimated population of 40 million, saw infections surge by 225 to 8,533. The death toll in the province reached 651.


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