KOMPAS.com – Indonesia's health minister will be in the province of East Java every weekend on orders of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo who has given the ultimatum to slow the spread of Covid-19 in the country's hardest hit province.
“Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto will go to Surabaya every weekend starting from Saturday, July 11, to directly lead East Java’s efforts to contain Covid-19,” said East Java Provincial Regional Secretary Heru Tjahjono.
Terawan has been based in the Indrapura Field Hospital in Surabaya, the capital of East Java, he added.
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East Java Provincial Administration Directorate General for the Prevention and Control of Diseases Doctor M. Budi Hidayat welcomed the government’s move in response to the surge in Covid-19 cases in the province.
“I hope that [sending Terawan] will help East Java combat Covid-19,” he said. “After all, the government did say that it will pay special attention to East Java.”
East Java has the highest number of Covid-19 cases nationwide. The pandemic has infected 17,230 people in East Java as of Tuesday, July 14, followed by DKI Jakarta with 13,970 people. Surabaya has borne the brunt of the coronavirus with 7,255 cases, followed by Sidoarjo with 2,481.
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The move comes after East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawangsa failed to reduce the number of cases there, despite President Jokowi’s ultimatum to do so in two weeks.
The head of state issued the ultimatum during his visit to the province at the end of June. He demanded that the various government institutions, such as the military and police, as well as medical authorities and hospitals, to integrate their efforts in countering the pandemic.