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Jokowi wants wider testing as Indonesia cases near 77,000

Jokowi wants wider testing as Indonesia cases near 77,000

Labourers roll tobacco at their work terminals, separated by plastic covers as part of measures amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, at a Gudang Baru cigarette factory in Malang, East Java, on July 11, 2020. (AFP photo)
Labourers roll tobacco at their work terminals, separated by plastic covers as part of measures amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, at a Gudang Baru cigarette factory in Malang, East Java, on July 11, 2020. (AFP photo)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo wants to ramp up coronavirus testing by 50% to 30,000 per day as infections reached nearly 77,000 in Southeast Asia’s most populous nation.

Jokowi, as the president is known, instructed his ministers on Monday to boost the nationwide testing capacity from a previous target of 20,000 a day by opening more laboratories especially in eight areas that include the capital region of Jakarta and neighbouring West and East Java.

“I want us to intensify the testing, tracing and treatment with priorities in eight provinces,” he told members of his cabinet before the meeting.

Indonesia reported 1,282 new cases in the 24 hours to midday Monday, bringing the total to 76,981, with an additional 50 people succumbing to the virus. The death toll has risen to 3,656 in Indonesia, the most in Southeast Asia. Most of the new cases on Monday came from Jakarta and East Java, two of the country’s biggest hotspots.

Jakarta had extended a transition period to exit from a partial lockdown by two weeks to the middle of this month, as the city continued to report hundreds of new coronavirus cases a day. It posted a record daily spike on Sunday.

The pandemic has hit Indonesia harder than the 1997 Asian financial crisis, battering small and big businesses alike, Jokowi said last month. On July 9, when the country reported the highest daily number of cases, Jokowi called the situation a “red signal”.

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