Jakarta battling surge in cases . . .
Indonesia reported 2,197 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, due mainly to a sharp increase in cases in the provinces of Jakarta and East Java, the two worst-affected provinces in the archipelago. These additions bring the total number of cases to 149,408, including 6,148 deaths, making Indonesia the second-most affected country in Southeast Asia, after the Philippines. Some observers believe that since the virus has been spreading faster since the beginning of the month, Indonesia has not reached its peak. Authorities in Jakarta have been trying out ‘shock tactics’ such as displaying an empty coffin at a busy intersection in the capital to raise awareness about the risk associated with COVID-19.
Children at particularly high risk in Indonesia . . .
While schools remain closed in Jakarta, many are still operating with online classes – a challenge in many parts of the country, as internet penetration is still low and highly concentrated in urban areas. Other schools began reopening throughout the country in July, with more about to reopen. And while a survey conducted last month showed that the majority of Indonesians are in favour of the government reopening schools and colleges, medical doctors are now sounding the alarm. They say the risk of infection and death for children is significantly higher in Indonesia than in other countries (malnutrition was identified as one factor) and that the health measures in place in schools may not be enough to prevent new outbreaks.
Reopening schools a shared concern . . .
Reopening schools, although an important step in the recovery phase of the pandemic, presents many challenges. Recent examples in U.S. universities have shown how social distancing can be difficult for students. In Canada, the debate is also fierce. With September just around the corner and provinces planning on reopening schools and welcoming students for the 2020-2021 year, parents and educators across the country are voicing concerns about recently released provincial plans and guidelines. While there won’t be an easy way of reopening schools, collaboration across countries on best practices and lessons learned should help.
- Jakarta Globe: Indonesia adds 2,200 Coronavirus cases
- The Jakarta Post: COVID-19 infections among children overshadow plans to reopen schools
- Reuters: RPT-Indonesia capital displays dummy coffin as COVID-19 warning