Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Workers in protective suits carry a coffin containing the body of a COVID-19 victim to a grave for a burial at Cipenjo cemetery in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, on July 14, 2021.

Achmad Ibrahim/The Associated Press

Indonesia reported more than 54,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time Wednesday, surpassing recent daily infections in India, whose disastrous outbreak is declining, and becoming Asia’s new virus hotspot.

Officials fear that the more highly transmissible delta variant is now spreading from the islands of Java and Bali, where outbreaks prompted a partial lockdown that closed places of worship, malls, parks and restaurants.

“I predict the outbreak will increase continuously in July as we are not able yet to prevent the spread of infections,” epidemiology expert Pandu Riono at the University of Indonesia said Wednesday. “Emergency social restrictions are still inadequate. They should be twice as stringent since we are facing the delta variant, which is two times more contagious.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Health Ministry reported 54,517 new cases and 991 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began above 2.6 million and the number of confirmed fatalities to more than 69,000.

A month ago, daily cases were running at about 8,000.

Reported daily cases in Indonesia are now higher than in India, despite Indonesia having far less testing by population.

India reported fewer than 39,000 cases on Wednesday, far below its peak of more than 400,000 daily cases in May, following lockdowns in its worst-hit areas and a stepped-up vaccination drive.

Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the government has identified the spread of the delta variant in some regions outside Java and Bali.

He told lawmakers on Tuesday that across the country, more than 90,000 of the 120,000 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients are occupied.

“Nationally, we still have some room. But the bed occupancy rate is very high in some provinces where the explosion of the delta variant is concentrated,” Sadikin said.

Story continues below advertisement

With the increase in deaths over the past month, some residents near Jakarta have begun helping overburdened gravediggers.

“As the diggers are too tired and do not have enough resources to dig, the residents in my neighbourhood decided to help,” said Jaya Abidin, who lives in Bogor on the outskirts of the capital. “Because if we do not do this, we will have to wait in turn a long time for a burial in the middle of the night.”

The government is struggling to acquire enough vaccines to reach its target of inoculating more than 181 million of its 270 million people by March 2022. So far, only 15.6 million people have been fully vaccinated.

So far, the world’s fourth-most populous country has secured 137.6 million doses of Sinovac, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines, enough for about 69 million people.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies