06/14/2021, 10.37
INDONESIA
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Jakarta sounds alarm over rising Covid-19 cases

by Mathias Hariyadi

Cases are on the rise in the cities of Kudus and Bangkalan. Experts say the causes lie in the violation of health protocols and in the spread of variants. At present 90% of ICU places are filled. The central government is considering a lockdown until the end of the month.

Jakarta (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A new wave of infections could overwhelm Indonesian cities by the end of the month. The alarm comes from the health authorities after 9,868 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded yesterday. Kudus (Central Java) and Bangkalan (East Java) are among the cities most affected.

The government is considering imposing a lockdown starting today through the end of the month. Local authorities report that the new surge in infections is due to the violation of health protocols and the spread of variants.

For example, a hospital in Kudus allowed patients to be accompanied by their families into the hospital. “Kudus experienced a shocking phenomenon. In just one week, the cases went from 26 to 929”, explained Wiku Adisasmito, spokesman for the task force against Covid-19. ICU places are also filling quickly: only 10% are still free.

Cases have also increased on the island of Sumatra, after millions of people ventured across the archipelago to celebrate the holidays following the end of Ramadan, thus ignoring a temporary travel ban.

Defriman Djafri, an epidemiologist at the University of Andalas in Padang, said May casualties in West Sumatra were the highest on record. The central government, on the direct order of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, has sent dozens of military vehicles to transport Covid-19 patients to Surakarta, where they will receive further medical treatment.

The peak of infections could also be determined by the spread of the coronavirus variants. According to Dicky Budiman, an epidemic expert at Griffith University in Australia, Indonesia may soon face the same scenario that India and other Asian countries are experiencing. Budiman explained that Jakarta should take the risks associated with the B.1.617.2 strain, first identified in India, more seriously.

Some outbreaks have also emerged among religious communities. In the district of Bantul, Yogyakarta (Central Java) about twenty people belonging to the local church choir tested positive; in west Jakarta, two priests from the parish church of St. Andrew were hospitalized despite having already received two doses of the vaccine.

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