Indonesia is the world’s next COVID-19 story
I think in the coming weeks Indonesia will replace the US and Italy before it in becoming the world’s big coronavirus story. Solely on population size, Indonesia is going to have an outsized impact on global figures. But with the addition of the slow response from the central government earlier in the year and the potential of mass movement ahead of next month’s Idul Fitri holiday, this is a crucial time for Indonesia’s response.
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Thank you so much and stay safe out there!
Health Minister spokesman Achmad Yurianto confirmed 399 new cases on Sunday in the biggest one day jump in Indonesia yet. This is a scary number but comes after a serious ramping up in testing which had been one of the major criticisms of the government’s handling of the outbreak to date. This brings the total figure to 4,241 infections. The official death toll now stands at 373.
Still, while confirmed cases seem to be moving in the right direction fears continue coronavirus deaths are massively underreported. A Reuters report earlier in the month (as an aside, the Jakarta bureau of Reuters has been beyond brilliant covering all of this so no apologies for overreliance!) found burials in the capital alone were 40 percent higher than any other month since at least January 2018. “It is extremely disturbing. I’m struggling to find another reason than unreported COVID-19 deaths,” Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan told the wire.
Jakarta remains the epicentre of the country’s cases, but cases are now confirmed virtually across the country. Provincial and local governments are moving quickly. Regional leaders have reached out the Health Ministry for approval on social distancing measures (PSBB). By having official endorsement from the central government, local governments can enforce social distancing measures — in some areas which have already been locally enforced by community groups — and penalties for violation.
But, any success these measures having in the coming days could be blasted shortly. Mudik, the very cool tradition of Muslims heading home for the Idul Fitri holiday, which often features a surge back into the cities as people move looking for work opportunities. This year, leaders have begged would-be mudik goers to abandon plans so as to contain a spread of the virus. But, with the economic bite already digging in, for many heading back to the family village means security and support.
Like Indonesia needs more trouble. The volcanoes are acting up.
Getting the numbers on coronavirus in Indonesia (Indonesia at Melbourne)
Modelling can help uncover the number of active cases that we might expect to see in a population of Indonesia’s size, and how fast the virus may be spreading. It can also be helpful to provide a future-looking perspective on the unfolding crisis, rather than responding only to the shock of daily news updates. Further, it can allow us to check on public health interventions, and what effect they may or may not have.
The data we have on hand can give us a 10-day forecast on the likely numbers of Covid-19 cases in each country around the world. My colleagues and I have spent the past few weeks constructing an interactive website that is updated daily and can do just that. Development of the site is ongoing as we refine the methodology and update the statistics.
Using the global standard Johns Hopkins University dataset(link is external), we use the data to make predictions about the growth rate of active cases, success in “flattening the curve” of the infection rate, and propose working estimates of the rate of detection. The idea is to present transparent data that can be used by people around the world to get a better grip on the scale of the pandemic and how fast it is moving in their countries. Without forecasting of this type, Covid-19 will catch many unprepared.
Eid al-Fitr and Indonesia’s Struggle With COVID-19 (The Diplomat)
Consequently, in light of the current situation, it seems increasingly likely that following the Eid weekend (May 22-23), Indonesia may witness a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country. Rural areas in Indonesia will likely be hit hardest by this uptick in infections and may struggle to cope due to their limited and poorly equipped health facilities. To make matters worse, according to data released by the Indonesian government, only a limited number of hospitals in Indonesia have the capacity to deal with COVID-19 patients. In some provinces, such as Sulawesi Tenggara, which has a population of 2.4 million people, only one hospital is equipped to deal with COVID-19. This paints a grim outlook for Sulawesi Tenggara and provinces like it around the country.