The coronavirus outbreak on Monday forced Indonesia to delay its simultaneous regional elections slated for Sept. 23 that would reach more than 100 million of voters.
President Joko Widodo has signed a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law that regulates the postponement of this year elections from September to December or even longer depending on the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world’s fourth most populous nation, the official website of according to the State Secretariat on Tuesday.
The elections have planned to be held simultaneously in 270 regions across the archipelago nation to elect 9 governors, 37 mayors and 224 district chiefs, with the number of eligible voters reached at least 105 million.
Earlier, the election authority had said that postponing this year’s regional elections was the most viable option to avoid COVID-19 from further spreading to rural areas.
Indonesia, which is home to nearly 270 million, has recorded a total of 12,071 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 872 fatalities as of Tuesday afternoon.
Deaths from the respiratory illness have returned to one-digit figure in a highly fluctuating trend. Since April 1, the country has seen daily deaths below 10 in only six separate days.
“There are 243 patients who have recovered in the last 24 hours so that a total of 2,197 patients have now left hospitals,” National Covid-19 spokesman Achmad Yurianto said in a daily video conference in Jakarta.
Indonesia’s coronavirus death toll covers only positive cases confirmed in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) lab testing.
Jakarta remains the epicenter of the outbreak with 4,687 cases, or 38.8 percent, and 409 deaths. The capital has conducted more than 81,000 rapid Covid-19 screenings and found 4 percent of test takers with clinical symptoms of the disease.
South Sulawesi is the only province outside Java Island to join the top five with 640 cases and 40 deaths.
Most transmissions have been blamed to the March 18 international Muslim pilgrimage in the district of Gowa.
The event was canceled in the last minute but more than 8,000 pilgrims from 10 countries including Indonesia had already arrived in the district.
(With inputs from agency)