Indonesia is gearing up for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, the Health Ministry said, following the five-day lebaran long weekend for Eid and the Ascension of Christ.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said religious activities and increased mobility during the period may contribute to a 30-80 percent cases spike in the coming weeks.
“Hopefully the spike will not be that high post-lebaran and after the extended break, so our supply of hospital beds for isolation and ICUs won’t run out,” he said during a press briefing yesterday.
The minister added that of the 70,000 hospital beds for isolating COVID-19 patients, 20,000 are currently filled, while of the 7,500 ICU units for COVID-19 patients, 2,500 were occupied as of May 16.
The holiday period has not been far removed from the issue of mudik (Eid homecoming tradition), in which an estimated 18 million Indonesians traveled to their hometowns despite a government ban lasting from May 6 to 17.
A similar ban was in place last year, which went unheeded in places. Indonesia’s daily cases count went from triple digits to quadruple digits following last year’s lebaran.
Indonesia is currently recording around 4,000 new cases daily, meaning that if the Health Ministry’s prediction were accurate, we could see the rate increase by 1,200 to 3,200 in the coming weeks.
At the height of the outbreak in January and February, Indonesia regularly recorded over 10,000 new cases daily, which inundated hospitals and medical facilities, especially in major cities like Jakarta.