JAKARTA: Indonesia reported 367 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday (May 6), taking the total to 12,438, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.
Twenty-three more people who tested positive for the virus have died in the Southeast Asian nation, taking the total number of deaths to 895, the highest death toll in East Asia outside China.
As of Wednesday, more than 92,000 people had been tested and 2,317 had recovered.
The data came as Indonesia announced that it will resume inter-city commercial flights, trains and buses for certain travellers on Thursday, less than two weeks after the government announced a blanket ban on domestic travel to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
President Joko Widodo had earlier decided to ban all inter-city travel to stop Indonesians from carrying out the traditional annual exodus, known locally as mudik, ahead of the Muslim holiday Idul Fitri.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday that a decision had been made to allow transport operators to resume operations from Thursday.
The minister noted that state officials, representatives of international organisations, businessmen and professionals still needed to conduct business trips.
Separately, Mr Doni Monardo, chief of the government’s COVID-19 mitigation task force, told a press conference on Wednesday that inter-city travel would also be permitted for people working in essential services.
Meanwhile, Indonesians working and studying overseas will also be able to return to Indonesia and will be repatriated back to their villages.
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Widodo on Wednesday ordered ministers in his Cabinet to use “whatever means” necessary to ensure the country’s infection curve of the coronavirus outbreak goes down in May, to reach a low in cases by July.
Widodo also ordered ministers to ensure economic stimulus went to sectors that had suffered the greatest contraction, based on first-quarter data on the gross domestic product.
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy grew 2.97 per cent in January-March, the worst rate since 2001 and well short of the 5.07 per cent in the same period last year. It also missed forecasts of 4 per cent expansion, while marking a contraction of 2.41 per cent from the previous quarter.
Officials have cut their official growth forecast to 2.3 per cent for this year, from a previous estimate of 5.3 per cent, and said it could even suffer a contraction under a worst-case scenario.