The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Health Ministry confirmed 993 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the highest single-day increase in the official count to date. The data arrived as the government began to loosen social restrictions under the so-called “new normal” policy.
National COVID-19 task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said 286 new cases had been recorded in East Java, the country’s new COVID-19 epicenter. Earlier, authorities declared the provincial capital of Surabaya a “black zone” because more than 3,000 cases had been confirmed in the city.
Jakarta – the previous outbreak epicenter – recorded 104 new cases on Saturday.
“Based on our analysis of the latest data, the cases were discovered through aggressive contact tracing of infected individuals in addition to waves of Indonesian migrant workers returning to the country through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport [in Tangerang, Banten],” Yurianto said during a press briefing on Saturday.
The rise in cases came as the central government and several regional administrations began to ease restrictions to allow business to resume.
Jakarta was one such region. Governor Anies Baswedan announced on Wednesday that the capital would enter a transitional phase to gradually ease restrictions in several sectors. The plan included reopening houses of worship and increasing the operation of public transportation.
Jakarta began its transition on Friday. Muslims in the capital were able to perform congregational Friday prayers in mosques.
Yurianto said 17 provinces had reported fewer than 10 new cases on Saturday, while six others had reported no additional cases.
National COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo said earlier that restrictions would be eased only in regencies and municipalities that had zero new COVID-19 cases.
As of Saturday, 30,514 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the country, with 1,801 deaths and 9,907 recoveries.