JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia has seen a surge in coronavirus infections ahead of this this weekend’s celebrations marking the end of Ramadan, raising questions about the commitment to the virus fight from both the government and the public.
Indonesia has the most COVID-19 fatalities in Southeast Asia at more than 1,300 and on Thursday reported its highest one day count of new infections with 973. The country has reported nearly 21,000 infections, though actual numbers are thought to be far higher.
Health officials have blamed the surge in cases in the world’s fourth most populous nation on the public not taking proper precautions.
“This illustrates people’s discipline in obeying health protocols in fighting the outbreak,” said Achmad Yurianto, the national COVID-19 task force spokesman.
But politicians have also resisted the guidelines. So far, only four of Indonesia’s 34 provinces and 26 cities have applied large-scale social restriction, all with low levels of public compliance.
Popular markets such as Tanah Abang in the capital, Jakarta, were teeming with shoppers buying new children’s clothes ahead of Eid-al Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Security personnel were overwhelmed by thousands of shoppers and traders who ignored health protocols and physical distancing.
“I’m here for my kids. They will be ashamed if their friends wear new clothes during Eid while they don’t,” said Ida Farida, a mother of three.“Of course I’m worried,” she said when asked about possibly contracting the virus. “But I leave it to God.”President Joko Widodo has said he will not yet ease large-scale social restrictions and insisted his government is aiming to keep citizens productive and safe.“We must […]