New record-breaking surge in cases . . .
Indonesia recorded 14,536 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, a daily case count not seen since late January. The spike in cases has mainly been attributed to the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, which led to widespread travel just over a month ago, as well as the new highly transmissible Delta variant. The Delta variant has been particularly active in the Kudus regency, approximately 500 km west of the capital, Jakarta, where hospital occupancy rates have risen upwards of 90 per cent, and hundreds of health-care workers have contracted the virus. The new variant may also be responsible for the sudden increase in cases among young Indonesians who have already been fully vaccinated.
Health-care workers falling victim . . .
In the past week, over 350 health-care workers have been infected with COVID-19, and dozens have been hospitalized, with reports of five doctors and one nurse having died. The news has elicited new fears of the Delta variant as health-care workers were among the first to be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine, which has been by far the most prevalently used across Indonesia. While the Sinovac vaccine reportedly has a lower efficacy rate than other vaccines, most of the COVID-19-positive health-care workers have been asymptomatic or have experienced only mild symptoms.
Localized, inconsistent responses . . .
The government of President Joko Widodo has pursued a localized, micro-scale approach to COVID-19 restrictions, with restrictions imposed on regions most severely affected by the virus. The government requires that red zones (regions with the highest infection rates) suspend religious gatherings and ensure that malls, restaurants, and cafés only reach 25 per cent capacity. However, the implementation of localized responses is varied: the mayor of Surabaya has publicly denounced red zone measures, while the Governor of West Java has increased the stringency of the province’s response. Similarly, public attitudes towards regulations are mixed, and for many, the fear of income loss is greater than their fear of the virus. Others are reportedly convinced the virus is a conspiracy.
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Hundreds of vaccinated Indonesian medical workers contract COVID-19, as hospitals approach breaking point
- The Globe and Mail: Hundreds of vaccinated Indonesian health workers contract COVID-19, dozens in hospital
- Reuters: Indonesia hits 2 million coronavirus cases, tightens curbs