World Health Organization (World Health Organization/ WHO, Thursday (22/7), urged Indonesia to implement a stricter and wider regional quarantine to limit the spike in cases and deaths due to COVID-19.
The push comes just days after President Joko Widodo announced plans to begin easing the implementation of restrictions on community activities (PPKM).
Indonesia has become one of the epicenters of the global pandemic in recent weeks, with positive cases of COVID-19 surging fivefold in the past five weeks. This week, daily deaths hit a record high of more than 1,400. This figure is one of the highest death rates in the world.
In its latest situation report, the WHO said strict implementation of public health and social distancing was essential. The WHO called for additional “urgent action” to tackle the sharp rise in infections in 13 of the country’s 34 provinces.
“Indonesia is currently facing a very high rate of transmission, and this demonstrates the importance of implementing strict public health and social measures, especially movement restrictions, across the country,” the WHO said. Reuters.
On Tuesday (20/7), President Joko Widodo announced the easing of the PPKM next week, citing official data showing a decline in infections in recent days. Epidemiologists see the decline in cases more driven by a drop in testing from already low levels.
Indonesia’s daily positivity rate, the proportion of people tested who are infected, has averaged 30% over the past week, even as the number of cases has fallen. According to the WHO, a level above 20% means “very high” transmission.
WHO also sees only one province in the country that has a positive rate below 20%, namely Aceh with 19%. [ah/ft]