‘Frightening’ Indonesia COVID Surge Puts the Most Vulnerable Groups at Huge Risk

June 30, 2021

Indonesia has seen a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, with hospitals in Jakarta now over 90% full. More than 20,000 new cases have been recorded for four days in a row - the seven-day average was as low as 3,519 in mid-May - and for the first time there have been more than 400 deaths for three days in a row. 

Ade Soekadis, Mercy Corps’ Country Director for Indonesia, said:

"Just last month, COVID-19 cases had dropped to the lowest levels since November 2020. Yet now six weeks later, we’re at the highest case levels of the pandemic so far - about 6 times higher today than in May. The speed the Delta variant has spread is frightening, and it’s left Jakarta and several municipalities completely overwhelmed. Hospitals are overflowing, around 1 in 5 tests in Indonesia are reportedly coming back positive, and we’re experiencing more deaths now than at any point of the pandemic so far. 

Worryingly, as we’ve seen in India and Nepal, we know it’s only going to get worse.

Since the start of the pandemic, Mercy Corps has been working with the most marginalised groups in Indonesia to provide urgently needed COVID and health care support, including with people living with disabilities, the LGBT community, informal workers and smallholder farmers, urban poor women and the homeless. These communities are often disconnected from the internet and information sources, even in accessing basic information such as the importance of distancing and mask-wearing, and are at high risk of contracting the virus. Having seen how dire the situation has gotten in just a matter of days and weeks, we’re deeply worried that despite our support the Delta variant is going to devastate entire families and communities in Indonesia, such as those we work with.

Indonesia, and communities like these, need urgent support. Only around 5% of the nation has received two vaccine doses. The country not only needs more vaccines - some 370 million doses are needed to vaccinate 70% of the nation - but they need to reach everybody in an equitable way. Until everybody is safe, nobody is.”