Increasing deaths from coronavirus in Indonesia including young children
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The fear of coronavirus (Covid-19) is increasing in Indonesia based on mounting deaths. However, the vastness and remoteness of many parts of this nation mean the true extent isn’t known. Yet, it is widely perceived that the real figure for deaths from coronavirus is much higher.
Indonesia is overwhelmingly Muslim but Christianity is represented by at last 25 to 30 million Christians. While other religious minorities exist, including Buddhists and Hindus. Therefore, the Easter period and the preparation for Ramadan are causing concerns in a nation where religion plays a very important role in society.
The Guardian reports, “There are also growing fears that the annual exodus of tens of millions of people to homes across the nation’s archipelago for Ramadan would accelerate the outbreak. Known locally as the “mudik”, the annual migration usually starts at the beginning of Ramadan, late in April. However, there are signs that some people have already traveled home.”
It is difficult to understand the true extent of coronavirus in Indonesia. However, all indications are that the death toll is much higher. Indeed, even young children have succumbed to coronavirus.
The President of the Pediatric Society, Dr. Aman Pulungan, said, “We know of at least four child deaths. The youngest was 3 years old.”
This situation likely exists throughout Indonesia because of the limited health infrastructure. On top of this, many parts of this nation are extremely remote. Therefore, you probably have other children who have been killed by the coronavirus.
Reuters reports, “Nearly 4,400 burials occurred in March, 40 percent higher than any month since at least January, 2018, according to a Reuters review of statistics from the city’s Department of Parks and Cemeteries. The second-highest total during that period was March 2019, when nearly 3,100 people were buried.”
France 24 stipulates, “…it is likely that the number of Indonesians infected with the virus is much higher than government figures indicate due to a lack of test kits. Further exhausting healthcare resources, Indonesia has been trying to contain an outbreak of Dengue fever in the eastern part of the archipelago since January that has so far been responsible for more than 250 deaths, according to the health ministry.”
President Joko Widodo is extremely worried about the economic angle because poverty is a genuine concern. Likewise, while wealthier nations in Europe can lockdown for a set period, this option would put enormous strains on Indonesia.
However, with the health care system being weak then the death toll would be shockingly high if the coronavirus continues to spread. Therefore, the leader of Indonesia faces a very difficult situation.
The BBC reports, “On average there is just one hospital bed per 1,000 people in Indonesia according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). China has four times as many, while South Korea has 11 times more hospital beds.”
Overall, it appears that deaths will mount in Indonesia even if underreported and political tensions will increase.
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