On 1 July 2021 Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced emergency measures (in Indonesian: Pemberlakukan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat Darurat, or PPKM Darurat, which roughly translates to the Enforcement of Restrictions on Activities in Society) in a renewed effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is certainly no surprise to see tougher social and business restrictions. Besides the news about upcoming emergency measures already circulating in Indonesian media in preceding days, it are Indonesia’s recent COVID-19 infection numbers released by the country’s Health Ministry that had taken alarming proportions.
New Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Indonesia:
The graph above shows a second wave starting from early June 2021 that has taken the shape of a tsunami; a development and shape many were worried about since the start of the whole pandemic back in March 2020 (when at the start of the month the first two ‘native’ COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Indonesia).
And, as the COVID-19 virus is spreading through Indonesian society, the number of COVID-19 related fatalities also jumped (see the graph below).
COVID-19 Deaths in Indonesia:
Meanwhile, another related matter – and perhaps even the most important indicator that is looked at by the Indonesian government – is occupancy in hospitals, because when people who are in need of medical treatment can simply not receive treatment due to overfull hospitals, then the social crisis takes a new high (and unfortunately, via anecdotal evidence, we have already heard stories of people dying in hospitals’ hallways in the Greater Jakarta region as they could not receive medical treatment).
Another reason why it is important to keep a close eye on the bed occupancy ratio (BOR) in hospitals is because it is possibly the most reliable indicator in this COVID-19 crisis. While one can doubt the accuracy of the COVID-19 test data (for example because there might be considerable under-testing in Indonesia, or, a high degree of false positives) and one can doubt the accuracy of the reported number of COVID-19 deaths (because of under-reporting, or, because it is unclear whether someone died from –or with– COVID-19), the number of hospital beds being occupied provide a bit of a clearer view on the public health situation (moreover, essentially all people in Indonesia, including the poorer segments of society, have access to treatment in hospitals thanks to the universal health coverage scheme).
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