Indonesia has surpassed India as the country with the highest daily COVID-19 infections. Now being referred to as the ‘Epicentre of Asia’, Indonesia has seen a massive surge in COVID cases since the end of June as the Delta variant spreads.

The country recorded almost 50,000 new cases and 1449 deaths on Thursday 22 July – a mortality rate ten times that of only one month ago.

By comparison, Australia has had 915 deaths in total since March 2020.

With the Delta variant having a two- to three-week incubation period, the concern is that case numbers and deaths will rise significantly over the coming weeks.

Indonesia’s official seven-day average is currently edging 44,000 cases; however, due to low testing rates and poor contact tracing, the real figure is expected to be closer to 100,000 and likely to double by the end of July [ABC].

Senior Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan, said that while Indonesia was preparing for a ‘worst case scenario’, he was hopeful that daily case numbers would not top 100,000 [The Jakarta Post].

This past one-and-a-half months, we are experiencing a rollercoaster situation

Indonesia has a population of 270 million people making it the fourth largest in the world. Java is the world’s most populous island and is home to half of Indonesia’s population.

But the current scenario is already difficult enough.

‘This past one-and-a-half months, we are experiencing a rollercoaster situation. The COVID-19 situation, especially in Java and Bali islands, is very serious,’ said Doni Wijaya, Executive Director of Baptist World Aid’s partner in Indonesia.

‘Since last week we are always breaking new daily record of positive case and mortality number. And the circle is getting nearer to us all, especially we who live in larger cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Semarang and Bandung,’ he said.

We are hoping and praying that this threatening situation can be over soon.

With hospital bed numbers approaching 100 per cent capacity, many patients with minor or moderate conditions are being sent home to recuperate – something that is compounding the COVID risk for church members, many of whom live in underprivileged conditions.

‘This is very challenging since they need to have support for their basic needs while doing self-isolation. Our local churches are doing their best in assisting their church members, yet the number of positive cases is rising fast,’ Wijaya said.

With the Indonesian population less than one-quarter of India’s, the recent case figures indicate Indonesia’s recent COVID-19 surge will impact a much higher percentage of the population than the horrific situation seen during India’s peak in May.

‘We are also in a partial lockdown: stay at home, work at home, classes at home. My home is only 10 minutes away from the COVID-19 Emergency Hospital, and the ambulance sirens are blowing almost every 30 minutes,’ Wijaya said.

‘We are hoping and praying that this threatening situation can be over soon.’

Our COVID appeal is ongoing. Please support the people of Indonesia and other countries by giving to our COVID-19 Global Emergency Appeal.

Please pray for Indonesia:

  • As many Indonesians as possible will receive vaccinations in the coming days and heed the tight restrictions now in place.
  • The buckling health system will cope with the influx of cases.
  • That the Delta variant will not decimate communities outside of Java and Bali that have a much lower medical capacity.
  • The Christian church in Indonesia will provide comfort and hope in this time of crisis.