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Indonesia reported a record jump in new coronavirus cases, with the death toll nearing 1,000 as the world’s fourth-most populous nation struggles to contain the pandemic’s spread into more areas.
Tests confirmed 533 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 13,645, Achmad Yurianto, a spokesman for the government task force on Covid-19, said at an online briefing on Saturday. Sixteen patients succumbed to the virus, taking the overall number of fatalities to 959, the third highest in Asia after China and India, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The number of people suspected of contracting the virus and exhibiting symptoms but still awaiting clinical confirmation jumped to 29,690 from 29,087 on Friday Yurianto said. There were almost 250,000 people under observation nationwide, Yurianto said.
Indonesian officials this week began discussing anexit strategy from the partial lockdown imposed in large cities, including the greater Jakarta area, even as the virus continued to spread to more areas in the vast archipelago. The strategy calls for social-distancing rules to be removed in five phases, with the economy completely reopened by late July or early August.
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The government has banned travel and progressively tightened restrictions on movement to curb the spread of the virus. Officials expect the disease will infect about 95,000 people before it eases. Still, they foresee a return to restriction-free life by July as authorities step up testing nationwide. There are fears of a second wave of infections from the return of thousands of migrant workers and cruise-ship employees in the coming weeks.
The pandemic has killed 38 doctors and 17 nurses in Indonesia, as it takes itstoll on the nation’s healthcare system. The country has just 4.27 doctors for every 10,000 people, according to theWorld Health Organization.
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