Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan tests positive for Covid-19

Mr Anies Baswedan said he will self-isolate at his official residence, but will work and chair meetings virtually.
Mr Anies Baswedan said he will self-isolate at his official residence, but will work and chair meetings virtually.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Anies Baswedan, the Jakarta Governor, announced on Tuesday (Dec 1) that he has been infected with the coronavirus.

Mr Anies said in an Instagram video that a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test he took on Monday showed he was positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

He said: "The result of the test showed I'm positive (for Covid-19). I decided to announce this the first chance (I got) this morning - as we've always done in tackling the Covid-19 since March - by communicating the issue as it happens, in a transparent and comprehensive manner.

"We uphold transparency pertaining to policies and it is the same regarding my situation today."

Mr Anies said he will self-isolate at his official residence but will work and chair meetings virtually. He urged those who have interacted with him to self-isolate or take a swab test for the virus.

He also said he had interacted intensively with Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria, who had also contracted the coronavirus from one of his staff, who was infected by a family member.

The governor has been under fire for visiting vigilante group Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab on Nov 10, hours after the firebrand cleric returned from his self-exile in Saudi Arabia to be mobbed by thousands in a hero's welcome.

He was also criticised for failing to stop a mass gathering in capital city Jakarta on Nov 14, when thousands of mostly maskless FPI supporters massed together to celebrate the wedding of Mr Rizieq's daughter and commemorate Prophet Muhammad's birthday.

Indonesia remains the worst-hit country in South-east Asia by the pandemic,  with 543,975 recorded Covid-19 cases as of Tuesday, of which 137,919 were from Jakarta, and 17,081 deaths, of which 2,683 occurred in the capital city.

A high-risk Covid-19 red zone, Jakarta has imposed a slew of restrictions on social gatherings, known locally as PSBB, limiting them to five people and capping occupancy in restaurants at 50 per cent of their total capacity.

In a Cabinet meeting on Monday, President Joko Widodo also expressed his concern over the sharp increase in infections seen  in Jakarta and Central Java in the past few days, which he described as “deserving special attention”. 

“We need to check thoroughly why the figures rose drastically,” he added.

Jakarta has posted more than 1,000 fresh cases a day before, but it saw 1,436 new cases on Nov 27, another 1,370 cases on Nov 28 and 1,431 cases on Nov 29 before the tally fell to 1,099 cases on Monday. It posted another record high of 1,579 fresh infections on Nov 21. 

The president also noted the increase in active cases to 13.41 per cent last week from 12.78 per cent a week earlier, as well as the declining recovery rate, which fell to 83.44 per cent in the past week from 84.03 per cent in the previous week.

“All of these (figures) were getting worse because of a greater increase in cases (last week) compared to the previous weeks,” he said.

Mr Joko then called for regional leaders to better tackle the pandemic in their respective regions and ensure a smooth economic recovery.