Coronavirus Asia

Five out of six Java provinces report fall in confirmed cases

Most parts of Java, Indonesia's most populous island, have seen an improvement in the Covid-19 situation.

The number of confirmed cases in five of its six provinces - Banten, West Java, East Java, Yogyakarta and Jakarta - has fallen, according to the health ministry. The authorities attributed the decline in cases to emergency restrictions imposed on Java and other areas of the country since early this month.

Central Java is the only outlier, with the province accounting for the most deaths nationwide yesterday. The number of deaths in the province jumped to 417, 147 more than the day before.

President Joko Widodo on Sunday extended the partial lockdown in parts of the country to Aug 2. The tighter restrictions have led to the suspension of most activities and the closure of many public venues, including malls, places of worship and parks from July 3. Also, most eateries are only allowed to offer takeaway and delivery services.

During a national government coordination meeting on Covid-19 on Sunday night, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the country's capital had seen a downtrend in its Covid-19 indicators.

A government official who was at the meeting said the governor told those present that Jakarta's positivity rate - the percentage of people who test positive for the coronavirus against the overall number of those tested - had dropped to about 25 per cent, from 36 per cent the previous week.

"The figures are far from ideal. We are targeting for it to fall further to 10 per cent or ideally below 5 per cent," Mr Anies was quoted as saying.

Indonesia recorded a seven-day average of 40,429 confirmed cases on Monday and this represented an 18 per cent decline from the figure on July 19, according to the health ministry's latest daily update. The bed occupancy rate for Covid-18 patients in hospital has also declined by 3 per cent in the same period.

But epidemiologists, including Dr Tri Yunis Miko Wahyono from the University of Indonesia, cautioned that significant declines in the positivity rate nationwide are still needed before anyone could be confident about Indonesia getting out of the woods.

Java and Bali account for more than 60 per cent of the total confirmed Covid-19 cases in the world's fourth-most populous country, which has so far reported more than 3.2 million infections and over 86,000 deaths. Nationwide, 2,069 people died yesterday, another record for a single day.

On Monday, Indonesia began ramping up contact tracing and reinforcing quarantine facilities to deal with the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

In a separate development yesterday, Singapore's Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman held a video call with Indonesia's Riau Islands provincial Governor Ansar Ahmad and Batam Mayor Muhammad Rudi to convey news of an assistance package from Singapore.

The package - comprising medical supplies and equipment, including 250 oxygen cylinders, medication, test kits and personal protective equipment - will be dispatched in the coming days.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2021, with the headline 'Five out of six Java provinces report fall in confirmed cases'. Subscribe