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Jakarta Post

Indonesia records 973 new COVID-19 cases as East Java becomes new epicenter

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 21, 2020   /   06:50 pm
Indonesia records 973 new COVID-19 cases as East Java becomes new epicenter The government’s spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters, Achmad Yurianto, speaks at a press conference on March 25. (Antara/Rivan Awal Lingga)

The Health Ministry announced 973 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with 502 of the cases located in East Java, which has emerged as the new epicenter of the outbreak in the country.
“This is an extraordinary increase and the highest [one-day] increase so far,” the ministry’s disease control and prevention director general, Achmad Yurianto, said in a press conference on Thursday. “The largest [number of cases] is from East Java, taking the [nationwide] total to 20,162 cases.”

He added that the total death toll had increased by 36 to 1,278.

The 502 new cases in East Java is the highest daily spike recorded by a province in Indonesia, even surpassing that of Jakarta.

The province has the second-most number of cases in the country with 2,998 cases and 241 fatalities, leapfrogging West Java and behind only Jakarta.

Read also: East Java, second hardest-hit province after Jakarta, struggles to control virus spread

Experts have criticized the lax large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) enforced by the province, which only imposed the PSBB in Surabaya and its two satellite regencies Sidoarjo and Gresik, as well as Malang city and neighboring Batu city and Malang regency. This is despite East Java having at least one confirmed case in all 38 cities and regencies.

A recent online survey conducted by the alumni association of Airlangga University’s School of Public Health found that, even in areas that enacted the PSBB, places of worship, offices and factories mostly remained operational without health protocols.
COVID-19 national task force chief Doni Monardo said Monday that the province had seen a 70 percent spike in weekly cases, while the number of occupied hospital beds in East Java was relatively higher than in other provinces. About 95 percent of hospital beds at Dr. Soetomo Hospital and 73.5 percent of hospital beds at Saiful Anwar Hospital in Malang were filled, he said.