More people seen in crowds as COVID-19 tally keeps rising in Indonesia



As the tally of the COVID-19 cases is still surging in Indonesia and the large-scale social restrictions are imposed in the country especially in such big cities as Jakarta and Surabaya, more people are already seen in crowds.

The Indonesian government reported on Saturday that the country’s COVID-19 cases rose by 949 within one day to 21,745 in total with the death toll rising by 25 to 1,351.

The capital city of Jakarta suffered the highest number of deaths which stand at 501, followed by East Java 271, West Java 127, Central Java 70, Banten 66, South Sulawesi 61, South Kalimantan 58 and the rest were recorded in other areas.

The public should actually be alarmed by the fact that the COVID-19 infections in Indonesia has reached the worrying point with 973 new cases reported on Thursday, bringing the total infection cases in the country to 20,162, with the death toll standing at 1,278 up to that day.

Although the Health Ministry’s data showed that the accretion of the COVID-19 cases slightly dropped to a daily record of 949 on Saturday from the highest figure of 973 on Thursday, people are suggested to remain aware of a possible further surge in the number of the virus cases due to some facts.

Let alone the fact that thousands of people were crammed into Indonesian markets in certain areas as some of them are declared red zones of the COVID-19 including Pasar Anyar marketplace in West Java province’s town of Bogor, which has been considered as a new coronavirus cluster.

A number of COVID-19 cases were also reported at traditional markets in some areas in the country including West Sumatra province’s capital of Padang with 39 people tested positive for the virus, and East Java’s city of Sidoarjo where Krian market was closed down after two persons with coronavirus disease were detected.

Chairman of the Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly Bambang Soesatyo has expressed concern over violations of social restrictions in a number of areas in the country, urging government authorities to further tighten the implementation of the policies on the matter.

He cited as an example that the violations occurred at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Banten province and traditional markets including that in Jakarta where many people without wearing face masks do not obey the requirement of physical distancing.

Such a situation could lead to a possible second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, Soesatyo said, hoping that the number of the COVID-19 cases would drop to a flattening curve based on which the government could consider relaxation of restriction policies.

Considering the high risk of fatality due to the disease, Soesatyo who is also the former speaker of the House of Representatives called for strict penalties for those who violate the health protocols.

President Joko Widodo has also observed activities at markets packed with people before the Islamic post-fasting festivity Eid-al-Fitr comes even when the social restrictions are still underway to curb the further spread of the COVID-19.

However, the head of state said he did not mind the crowds on the marketplaces as long as people abide by tight procedures on the COVID-19 mitigation.

“I have the health protocols strictly carried out. Persons in charge of the fields must continue to remind people of wearing face masks, keeping physical distances and washing hands,” the president told a recent virtual cabinet meeting in Jakarta.

In addition to the market crowds, what is also worrying is the huge traditional exodus of people who have managed to pass check points to go hometowns for celebrating the Eid-al-Fitr as they may carry the virus which could be transmitted to their families, friends, neighbors and other people.

Not to mention Indonesian migrant workers who arrive from different countries, the worries would even become bigger when the cars with more people from the villages come back for works and other purposes in Jakarta and its neighboring cities as Bekasi, Bogor, Tangerang and Depok.

Due to the risk of the lethal virus, the government has urged the people to suspend trips to their hometowns for celebrating the post-fasting festivity.

It was reported that the police have since April 24 forced some 52,000 cars on their traditional trips to villages to return back to their places of origin including those in Jakarta and its surrounding areas.

Amid this week’s surging tally of the COVID-19 cases in Indonesia, head of the National Covid-19 Task Force Doni Monardo told a press conference that the country is approaching a critical period in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak before and after Eid-al-Fitr.



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