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Asia Minute: New Pandemic Restrictions for Indonesia

AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

Indonesia is the latest country in the Asia Pacific to announce a new set of travel restrictions because of a spike in the number of cases of COVID-19.

No place in Southeast Asia has been hit harder by the pandemic than Indonesia—more than 2 million cases, nearly 60,000 deaths and now a new spike with the Delta variant.

Health officials say the bed occupancy rate at Jakarta hospitals rose to 93% this week.

President Joko Widodo has announced a two-week lockdown for parts of the country with the goal of cutting new cases from 20,000 a day to half that level.

The restrictions include Indonesia’s biggest island of Java and the tourist destination of Bali.

Al Jazeera quotes local figures showing daily confirmed cases on Bali have quadrupled in two weeks.

Earlier this week, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the entire country is “teetering on the edge of a COVID-19 catastrophe.”

The country director of Mercy Corps International told Reuters that nationwide, the current positivity rate for COVID-19 testing is about 20%.

The government wants to boost its vaccination drive, so far only about 5% of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated.

The restrictions start Saturday and will run until at least July 20.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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