As the coronavirus outbreak gets worse in Jakarta, health care system on the verge of collapse
by Mathias Hariyadi

Yesterday 40 people who died from COVID-19 were buried at the Pondok Ranggon cemetery, the highest number in a single day. A partial lockdown kicks in on 14 September. The authorities’ crisis management is criticised. Intensive care units are almost completely full.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The coronavirus outbreak is getting worse in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Forty people who died from COVID-19 were buried yesterday in the Pondok Ranggon public cemetery. According to local officials, this is the highest number of burials ever recorded in a single day. The previous record, last Saturday, was 37.

To contain the rise in cases (about a thousand a day), Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced on Wednesday that the city would go into a "semi-lockdown" mode next Monday.

After the imposition of restrictions in March, the authorities had begun easing them on 4 June. Offices, shops and markets, as well as parks and tourist facilities, reopened, but this has resulted in an increase in cases.

With nearly 51,000 cases and more than 1,300 deaths, Jakarta is the most affected area. In total, the country has reported 211,000 cases so far with 8,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Anies Baswedan's action has been criticised on social media. Some accuse him of delaying necessary steps for political reasons, allowing for example mass protests against his rival, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

According to Paulus Januar, president of the Catholic Students' Association in the late 1990s, restrictions were lifted to encourage economic recovery. 

Paulus, a dentist, notes that Indonesian doctors undertook great efforts to tackle the pandemic. Unfortunately, the authorities poorly handled the post-lockdown phase, so the number of cases rose significantly. 

Indonesia has 132 COVID-19 hospitals, 20 in Jakarta, a city of 10 million inhabitants. However, "The health facilities made available for the pandemic crisis are not enough," Paulus told AsiaNews

“About 83 per cent of the intensive care units are occupied at present; the ideal level is less than 70 per cent,” he explained. “If the number of patients continues to rise, at this rate the health system will collapse, and the government will be forced to impose further restrictions.”