Indonesia has recorded a huge jump in its daily coronavirus infections, with 973 new patients confirmed on Thursday.
The jump in new infections easily beats the previous one-day record of 693 infections, set just a day earlier and again calls into question the Indonesian government’s handling of the crisis – and the plan to start unwinding restrictions.
While other countries in south-east Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam appear to have the spread of the virus reasonably under control, in Indonesia the infection rates are rising most days.
The total number of infections hit 20,162 people on Thursday and the death toll also rose by 36 people to 1,278, the most in south-east Asia.
Vice-President Ma’ruf Amin, who was scheduled to speak at the same press conference, did not appear.
The Indonesian government has begun easing restrictions designed to contain the spread of the virus, such as overturning the grounding of domestic flights for people returning home during the Ramadan religious holiday.
While the government insists the re-started flights are only for essential workers, in family emergencies or for employees of state-owned enterprises, for example, copies of the required exemption documents are freely available on the street to those willing to circumvent the rules – for as little as $10.
Jakarta’s main airport was flooded by people on the first day that restrictions on flights were eased.