Indonesian coronavirus cases top 50,000, with 1,178 new infections

Indonesia has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks with a current total of 50,187 cases. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - The number of coronavirus cases in Indonesia exceeded 50,000 as easing of social distancing rules sparked a resurgence in cases, prompting President Joko Widodo to order increased surveillance in the nation's newest hot spot for infections.

Tests confirmed 1,178 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 50,187, official data showed Thursday (June 25).

Forty-seven people succumbed to the disease, taking the cumulative death toll to 2,620, the highest in South-east Asia, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Indonesia has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks after capital Jakarta and Surabaya, the second-largest city, began easing social distancing rules early this month.

East Java, home to almost 40 million people, reported 247 fresh cases, the most for any region, and taking the total to 10,545. The tally is the second-highest after Jakarta, health ministry data showed.

Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, visited Surabaya on Thursday and set a two-week deadline to officials to contain the pandemic that he described as a health and economic crisis facing the world.

"I will closely monitor the situation after two weeks and see if there's a good progress on this," Mr Joko said at a meeting with local government officials.

The virus outbreak has ravaged South-east Asia's biggest economy, spurring policy makers into action with nearly US$50 billion (S$69.6 billion) in fiscal stimulus, interest rate cuts and bond purchases.

The pandemic has hit the country harder than the 1997 Asian financial crisis, battering small and big businesses alike, Mr Joko said last week.

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