Mon, 08 Mar 2021

© Provided by Xinhua | A man wearing face mask rides past a mural saluting frontline workers at a neighborhood in Tangerang, Banten province, Indonesia, Jan. 26, 2021. (Xinhua/Zulkarnain)

Indonesia has registered more than 1 million COVID-19 cases since the first infection was detected in the country in March 2020, amid an ongoing vaccination drive.

by Dames Alexander Sinaga

JAKARTA, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia has registered more than one million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the first coronavirus infection was confirmed in the country in March last year, amid the current vaccination drive.

On Tuesday, the COVID-19 cases in the world's fourth most populous country rose by 13,094 in the past 24 hours to 1,012,350, the country's Health Ministry reported.

To date, more than 28,000 people have died and around 820,000 have recovered from the coronavirus epidemic, showed the official data.

Indonesia posts the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the Southeast Asia region. The virus has spread to all the country's 34 provinces with Jakarta being the hardest hit, and East Java the highest death toll.

© Provided by Xinhua | Some COVID-19 asymptomatic patients participate in morning exercise at an emergency shelter in West Java, Indonesia, Jan. 26, 2021. (Photo by Dedy Istanto/Xinhua)

Across the country, a massive COVID-19 vaccination program was launched on Jan. 14 with healthcare workers being the first group to received the vaccine.

The mass vaccination began one day after President Joko Widodo took the first shot of a vaccine developed by China's biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, in a move to convince the public of the vaccine's safety.

The president was reportedly scheduled to receive the second jab on Wednesday, Jan. 27.

Doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus have been distributed by Indonesia's state-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma to all the provinces since early January.

The government was targeting to deliver 5.8 million doses of the vaccine this month, 10.45 million doses in February again to those regions, and 13.3 million doses in March.

The Sinovac vaccine was approved for emergency use by Indonesia's Food and Drug Control Agency (BPOM) following interim results of its late-stage trials in the country.

As many as 18 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac have been delivered to Indonesia.

© Provided by Xinhua | A health worker receives a dose of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine at a community health center in South Tangerang, Banten province, Indonesia, Jan. 15, 2021. (Xinhua/Zulkarnain)

President Widodo recently said that the government had ordered a total of 426 million doses of vaccines from four pharmaceutical manufacturers in different countries.

He also said that the government has readied 30,000 vaccinators, 10,000 community health centers (locally known as Puskesmas) and 3,000 hospitals to support the vaccination of at least 181.5 million Indonesian people, which is about 70 percent of the population. The vaccine is free of charge for all Indonesians.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin earlier said the massive vaccination goal would be reached in around 15 months.

However, Widodo said at a virtual conference on Monday: "I have ordered the vaccination to be completed before the end of 2021."

At present, the government is implementing a new stricter anti-coronavirus policy, locally known as PPKM, on the country's main island of Java and the holiday resort island of Bali.

© Provided by Xinhua | A worker sprays disinfectant at South Tangerang, Indonesia on Jan. 26, 2021. (Xinhua/Agung Kuncahya B.)

Indonesia was recording a greater number of daily cases in recent days.

The new public activity restriction requires a workplace to have 75 percent of its staff to work from home, teaching and learning activities to be continued online, shopping centers to open for limited hours, and restaurants to receive customers with no more than 25 percent of their seating capacity.

Among the new measures are also more stringent health protocols for construction work activities as well as a 50-percent limit of capacity for places of worship.

The policy began to work on Jan. 11 and will last through Feb. 8.

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