A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment attends to a Covid-19 patient with an oxygen mask in a wheelchair outside Bekasi Public Hospital.
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Indonesia reported the highest number of new coronavirus infections in the world for the week that ended on July 18, according to the World Health Organization.
While the numbers appear to be coming down in recent days, one public health expert says deaths will continue to rise.
The world’s fourth most populous country has overtaken India to be the new epicenter of the coronavirus in Asia, surpassing India in June in terms of the highest daily new cases per million people, data compiled by Our World in Data showed.
WHO’s latest weekly epidemiological update said more than 3.4 million new cases were reported globally between July 12 to 18, as many countries across the world continue to experience surges.
Indonesia topped the list with the most number of new infections during that period at 350,273 cases — a 44% increase from the week before. It was followed by the U.K., Brazil, India and the U.S.
To be clear, Indonesia still trails the U.S., India and 11 other countries in terms of total infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. has reported more than 34.22 million cases so far while India has had more than 31.25 million cases — though health experts believe the numbers are grossly underreported there. In comparison, the Southeast Asian nation has reported 2.98 million infections so far, Hopkins data showed.
Indonesia reported a record 1,383 deaths on Wednesday despite emergency measures aimed at curbing the spread of the disease.
That figure may continue to increase in the coming days, according to Ben Cowling, a professor at The University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.
“Deaths will likely continue to rise for another 2-3 weeks because of the lag between case confirmation and mortality,” he told CNBC in an email.
Just this week, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo extended Covid restrictions, but said daily infections have fallen. He said the health measures could be eased starting July 26 if new cases continue to drop.
According to Our World in Data, Indonesia reported a new high of 56,757 confirmed cases on July 15, and infections declined almost every day since.