Indonesia sees record coronavirus cases after military academy cluster

Indonesia has the highest number of cases and fatalities in South-east Asia. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG, REUTERS) - Indonesia reported a record jump in daily coronavirus infections on Thursday (July 9) after outbreaks in a military academy compound in West Java and an industrial area.

There were 2,657 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 70,736, according to the health ministry data, while 58 people have succumbed to the disease, raising the death toll to 3,414.

Indonesia has the highest number of cases and fatalities in South-east Asia.

However, public health researchers suspect that due to limited testing actual total cases could be far higher, though the government denies this, and has told people not to panic.

Partial data for 20 of Indonesia's 35 provinces gathered by volunteer group Kawal Covid-19 from local governments websites, however, showed there were a further 6,847 deaths of people who had not been tested but showed acute symptoms. T

The central government does not include such cases, as untested patients could have died from other causes.

West Java province reported 962 new cases, ahead of 517 cases reported in East Java, after local authorities found two clusters of infections. Both incidents have been isolated and under control according to Dr Achmad Yurianto, spokesman for the government task force.

Dr Yurianto attributed the increasing new cases to people not wearing masks as the country re-opened and eased lockdowns.

He told reporters that a significant new cluster had emerged at a military training centre in West Java, where 1,262 cadets and trainers have tested positive for the disease.

"We implore the people to stay calm, not panic, because it's being taken care of professionally according to international standards," he said.

According to Dr Yurianto, 13,732 people showing acute symptoms are currently under close medical observation, but have yet to be tested.

Another 38,498 people are currently being monitored for having come in contact with the virus.

President Joko Widodo told a meeting during a visit in Central Kalimantan province on Thursday that the country needs to control both the public health crisis and economic fallout.

"We need to manage the gas and the brakes. We can't hit the gas on the economy but let the (Covid-19 outbreak) ratchet up."

Indonesia's gross domestic product may have shrunk by as much as 5.1 per cent on-year in April-June from the blow of the coronavirus pandemic, but will likely expand in subsequent quarters, its finance minister said on Thursday.

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