Wed. Jan 20th, 2021

Jakarta (Reuters) – Anees Basavadan, the governor of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, said on Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19, as the number of infections spikes in the world’s fourth most populous country.

The 51-year-old governor of Southeast Asia’s largest city is among several politicians and officials to contract the virus. Indonesia’s ministers of transport and religious affairs have previously been treated for the virus.

In a video posted on his Instagram account, the governor stated that he is currently asymptomatic and will be self-immolating.

“I would like to remind everyone that COVID is still around and anyone can come,” he said.

According to the city’s website, his deputy, Ahmed Riza Pateria, also tested positive for the virus on Sunday.

Indonesia, a country of 270 million people, has posted a record-high case number of three days in the past week.

With more than 530,000 infections and nearly 17,000 deaths, the country has the highest elevation in Southeast Asia, although some health experts say limited testing and contact tracing masking a high caseload.

In comparison to the previous month, Jakarta has also recorded a new record high in infections in the last one month, with an average of 1,240 cases reported in the last one week.

Unlike some neighboring countries, Indonesia has not been brought under strict national lockdown but has opted for local sanctions.

Since October, the Jakarta governor has relaxed restrictions to restore “massive social restrictions”, meaning malls and restaurants can operate with fewer hours.

Some health experts and officials have recently added to the spike in cases of mass gatherings around the capital.

This includes thousands of people against a new job creation law and large celebrations to mark the withdrawal from the exile of controversial Islamic religious leader Riziq Shiyab, often with very little social distance.

(Reporting by Stanley Vidiento; Editing by Kate Lamb and Ed Davis)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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