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East Java now is Indonesia’s coronavirus epicenter

Police officers monitor vehicles at a checkpoint on the Jakarta-Cikampek toll road in Bekasi regency, West Java, on April 24. (kompas.com/Kristianto Purnomo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA, Jun 27, 2020, The Jakarta Post. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in East Java has exceeded that of Jakarta, making the province Indonesia’s COVID-19 epicenter, The Jakarta Post reported.

On Friday, East Java reported 356 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 10,901 cases, surpassing Jakarta’s tally of 10,796.

The province has also reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths. According to the government count, 796 people have died of the disease in East Java. Jakarta has recorded a total of 616 deaths.

The report came a day after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited East Java. There, he urged the provincial administration to decrease the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the region within two weeks.

“I demand integrated and serious controls from all institutions in the region […] so we can handle and lower the number of confirmed cases […] within two weeks,” the President said in Surabaya on Thursday.

National COVID-19 task force spokesperson Achmad Yurianto said that Central Java and South Sulawesi reported 177 and 172 cases respectively on Friday, among the highest that day.

Yurianto appealed to citizens to adhere to health protocols to curb the spread of the virus, especially as the government began easing restrictions under the so-called new normal policy in many parts of the archipelago.

“There are three places that have a high potential to be sources of transmission: offices, restaurants and public transportation. It’s important for us to maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 meters from others and wear masks while at those places,” he said.

Indonesia continues to be the hardest hit country in Southeast Asia.

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