Positive cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia have begun to increase this week. In the previous week, positive cases ranged from 3,800 to 4,000 per day, whilst daily cases today have hit over 5,000.
“There’s an increase but it’s still much smaller than last year’s Eid holidays,” said the Coordinating Minister for the Economy who is also Chairman of the Committee for Handling COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery (KPCPEN), Airlangga Hartarto.
The provinces that have experienced an increase in cases in the past week are Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau Islands, DKI Jakarta, West Nusa Tenggara, North Kalimantan, Gorontalo, and North Maluku.
Airlangga said that he will continue to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases over the next four to five weeks, as with the Christmas and New Year holidays. The government calculated that the increase in cases will continue until mid-June.
Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono Harbuwono stated that there are two causes of this recent increase of COVID-19 cases. These are the increased mobility of people during the Eid holiday and the mutation of the disease into new variants.
“Exogenous factors are related to the existing population mobilisation. This population mobilisation is expected to increase in the coming weeks,” said Dante.
He went on to say that the second factor is endogenous – or directly related to the virus – meaning the new coronavirus mutations that have spread in Indonesia.
“We have identified several new mutations which we know as variants of concern. These three variants of concern for mutations have originated in India, South Africa, and the UK,” said Dante.
Overall, there are now 54 cases of variants of concern; 35 of which are variants originating from migrants from outside Indonesia and 19 cases originating from variations in Indonesia.
“The combination of external factors in the form of mobilization and endogenous factors in the form of mutations from this virus will cause this to increase in the future. We must still maintain health protocols with regard to this as well as maintaining economic stability,” Dante concluded.