JAKARTA: Indonesia recorded its biggest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths on Friday (Dec 25) with 258 fatalities, taking the total to 20,847, data by the country’s health ministry showed.
The data showed coronavirus infections increased by 7,259, bringing the number of cases to 700,097.
Indonesia has the highest coronavirus caseload and death toll in Southeast Asia.
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Christmas celebrations in Indonesia were a low-key affair after the Indonesian government imposed a ban on large gatherings during Christmas and New Year’s eve earlier this month. Churches are limited to only 50 worshippers.
Most major churches across the mostly Muslim country of 270 million obeyed the restriction on Thursday. About 10 per cent of the population are Christians.
Indonesian Catholics wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus, attend a Christmas mass service at a church in Bali, Indonesia, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Church Unity General-Secretary Prist Jacklevyn Frits Manuputy said many churches in the capital Jakarta and in other cities have set up online services.
“We did all we can do to keep people connected with God during this Christmas eve,” he said.
Indonesian Catholics wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus, attend a Christmas mass service at a church in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Following the discovery of a new coronavirus variant spreading in Britain, Indonesia recently banned travellers from the UK.
Rules for those arriving from Europe and Australia have also been tightened following an indication the virus variant was spreading there.
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President Joko Widodo this week appointed six new ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle, including a replacement for health minister Terawan Agus Putranto who was heavily criticised for his handling of the pandemic.
“The president has tasked me to focus on how we can handle the COVID-19 problem as quickly and as best as possible,” said new Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, who moved from his post as deputy minister for state enterprises and head of Jokowi’s economic recovery task force.
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