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Delta variant drives up Jakarta virus cases 50%

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The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, first detected in India, has started to dominate cases in Indonesian cities including the capital Jakarta. AFP

Delta variant drives up Jakarta virus cases 50%

Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan has warned that the Indonesian capital may return to a strict restriction regime as coronavirus cases surged 50 per cent in the past week amid a rise of infections of the Delta variant.

Active cases in Jakarta rose to 17,400 cases on June 13 from 11,500 on June 6.

Anies said in a June 14 statement: “The capital is in a state that needs extra attention. If the current situation gets out of hand, we would enter an emergency phase, and if that happened, we would have to take drastic steps like we did in September and February. We do not want that to recur.”

The Delta variant, first detected in India, has started to dominate cases in Indonesian cities, with health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin confirming that Covid-19 cases in Jakarta, Kudus (Central Java province), and Bangkalan (East Java province) are dominated by the Delta variant, based on genome sequencing tests.

Bed occupancy rate for isolation wards in Jakarta reserved to treat Covid-19 patients also increased to 75 per cent on June 13, from 45 per cent a week ago.

One out of four Covid-19 patients in Jakarta, however comes from outside the city, mostly the surrounding satellite towns.

Anies urged residents to strictly comply with health protocols in order to avoid another round of strict social distancing restrictions.

Currently, dining in eateries is allowed with limited capacity, and non-essential staff are partially required to work from home.

The governor also stressed that the positivity rate in Jakarta increased to 17 per cent on June 13, from nine per cent the previous week.

The positivity rate indicates the percentage of positive Covid-19 cases detected out of the total tests conducted.

The threshold set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for adequate testing is a five per cent positivity rate.

Anies pointed out that the testing rate in Jakarta rose to eight times what the WHO recommended, from four times in the previous week.

He ordered all his personnel on June 13 night to take stricter measures and to step up enforcement of the health protocols on individuals as well as in places.

To ensure that residents comply with the strict health protocols, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on June 14 decided to beef up the deployment of military and police officers across 7,000 sub-regencies in the country.

Indonesia’s 34 provinces are made up of more than 500 regencies and cities, which in turn consist of 7,000 sub-regencies.

Jokowi also decided to speed up daily vaccination rate from the current 500,000 doses a day to 700,000 later this month and then one million next month.

People living in Covid-19 red zones – places with hospital bed occupancy ratio exceeding 60 per cent – will get priority in vaccination, said Budi, following a meeting with the president. In addition, places of worship in the Covid-19 red zones will be closed for the next two weeks.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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