Indonesia’s population is the world’s fourth biggest, spread over a vast archipelago near the equator so there are major logistical challenges in terms of keeping coronavirus vaccines at the required temperature.
Health experts warn the government’s policy focus on the vaccine and little else to contain the virus is laced with danger, as the health system is already creaking under the rising cases.
The graveyards in Jakarta, the epicentre of the pandemic, are full and hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of patients.
Public health expert Dr. Dicky Budiman, from Australia’s Griffith University, said the government needs to do more to protect the vulnerable, by strengthening what the fundamental pandemic strategy: test, trace and treat and enforcing social distancing.
Jakarta journalist Citra Prastuti, who just recovered from the virus, said “stepping out of your home is like entering a war zone – it feels like nowhere is safe enough for us.”