SINGAPORE Indonesia became Southeast Asia’s worst-hit nation last week (Jun 17) when its COVID-19 cases surpassed 41,000. The situation has since worsened as on the following day (Jun 18) Indonesia recorded 1,331 new cases - its highest since it first began counting daily cases in March. How did Indonesia get to this bleak situation? The number of new cases has consistently been more than a 1,000 daily since Jun 12, with East Java and Jakarta as the worst-hit areas, though the daily came down slightly to 862 on Sunday (Jun 21). However, as of Wednesday (Jun 24), Indonesia had surpassed more than 49,000 cases, with Jakarta and East Java accounting for almost a quarter each of those figures.
Indonesia also has the region’s highest number of deaths and active cases, which stood at 2,573 and 29,351, respectively on Wednesday. While COVID-19 related fatality rates have been brought down from 8 per cent to 5.3 per cent, they are still the highest in Southeast Asia, which has an average death rate of 2.7 per cent according to Indonesian media Kompas.
One explanation for the spike of new cases is that Indonesia has ramped up its COVID-19 testing. Up until May, the country conducted less than 500 tests per 1 million population - one of the lowest test rates in the world and the third lowest in the region.