Indonesia’s Third COVID-19 Wave: Resiliency and Recovery

Indonesia’s third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the country by storm since early June 2021, proving to be one of the worst outbreaks that the world has seen. As the delta variant spreads across the densely populated areas of the country, the healthcare system faces immense pressure and is running low on oxygen and medical supplies. The densely populated region of Java has been the most affected, as the government has taken measures to contain the spread of the virus within the region. However, as clusters of the delta variant emerge outside the Java region, Indonesia may face further healthcare constraints with regards to having supplies and medical personnel reach remote regions.

While much of the analysis of Indonesia’s third wave has been conducted on a national level, ACI conducts a study on the provincial level. Using the methodology from Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking, the study constructs a COVID-19 resilience index to demonstrate the sub-national heterogeneity and perform quadrant analysis to contrast the findings with the ACI Competitiveness Index. The key aim of the study is to understand the extent of heterogeneity as well as the reasoning behind the disparity. The research finds that COVID-19 resilience is geographically clustered.

COVID-19 Resilience Map
Source: Statistics Indonesia, World Bank, Ministry of Health of Indonesia, Authors’ calculation

The national level indicators portray low resilience to the third wave of COVID-19 infections, but the situation is not uniform across the country. Central Java, East Java, West Java, and DKI Jakarta, all provinces on Java island, accounted for almost two-thirds of the total case count. The remaining one-third of cases was spread across the other 30 provinces. ACI’s study finds that the more competitive provinces are less resilient to Indonesia’s third wave. There is a clear geographical spread, whereby the provinces with the lowest ranked resiliency are clustered around international gateways. Regions further away from such places, such as provinces in Sulawesi and Maluku-Papua, exhibit middle to high levels of COVID-19 resilience.

There are several policy implications for Indonesia’s recovery path. The vaccination drive has much progress to make. The aim was to inoculate 7.5 million out of 10.5 million residents in DKI Jakarta by the end-August in the hope that it could put an end to COVID-19 in the disease epicentre. While the worst affected provinces put in greater effort in vaccinating their populations, the countrywide vaccination roll-out has been relatively low compared to its Southeast Asian neighbours. DKI Jakarta, Bali, and DI Yogyakarta were the top provinces up to the week of 1 July 2021, but the front runner, DKI Jakarta, was at a meagre 18.28%, far from the target of 75% by August 2021. This is potentially due to Indonesia’s poor healthcare infrastructure. As vaccine discussions constantly evolve, Indonesian healthcare authorities must closely monitor new research and developments and amend the national vaccination programme accordingly.

By Sunena GUPTA

Researchers: Wen Chong CHEAH, Doris Wan Yin LIEW, Xuyao ZHANG

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