18 May 2020

Surge in Covid-19 cases in Papua province

2:43 pm on 18 May 2020

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Indonesia's Papua province has rocketed past four hundred.

Jayapura harbour, Papua province, Indonesia.

Jayapura harbour, Papua province, Indonesia. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Last night in Jayapura, the Papua Province Covid-19 Task Force spokesman Silwanus Sumule announced a sharp increase of 74 cases in a day.

The total now stands at 436. Of that number 323 people are receiving medical treatment.

The death toll remains at 7.

Reflecting the breakdown of overall cases to date, most of the new cases are in Jayapura City and in other regencies close to the border with Papua New Guinea, as well as in Mimika regency, around the Freeport gold mine, the single biggest cluster so far.

Dr Sumule said the surge in new cases indicated that health measures were not being adhered to by all citizens in Papua Province.

He said the public could not be slack about the implementation of health protocols if Papua was to adequately confront the outbreak.

Dr Sumule added that the number of patients who have recovered from Covid-19 in the province had also increased, by 17, to a total of 106.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring West Papua province, the number of confirmed cases of the virus was 105 as of yesterday, according to Indonesia's Ministry of Health.