Update on Corona Pandemic in West Papua – Number of infections rise to 137

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The number of confirmed Coronavirus infections in West Papua has risen to 137, as of 22 April 2020. Thirteen cases have been reported from the Province of Papua Barat, in the cities Sorong and Manokwari as well as from the Teluk Bintui Regency. The virus has already spread to at least ten regencies in the Province of Papua and its largest city, Jayapura. So far, 33 patients in the province of Papua have recovered while seven have died of the virus. The majority of Covid-19 cases were found in Jayapura and the Mimika Regency, both located in the Papua Province (see table below). The provincial government in Papua reacted to the rising number of infections and extended large-scale social restrictions until 6 May 2020. According to Papuan Vice Governor, Klemen Tinal, Papua was ranked sixth in terms of the number of Corona cases in Indonesia as of 23 April 2020.

The number of infections quickly climbed and spread to multiple regencies. As of 26 March 2020, local hospitals identified only seven cases of COVID-19 in the regencies Merauke, Jayapura and Biak. The spokesman of the Papua Provincial Task Force against the Acceleration of COVID-19, Dr Silwanus Sumule, explained that the quick rise in the number of COVID-19 infections may have resulted from the Government’s ineffectual physical distancing policy.

End of March, the Governor of Papua Province, Lukas Enembe, ordered the closure of airports and harbors for travelers to avoid a quick spreading of the virus from Jakarta and other Corona hot spots in Indonesia. Only the regional Government in Mimika continued to allow access to passenger airplanes. Papuan politicians urged to local government in Mimika to close airports and ports, as the absence of travel restrictions could have far-reaching consequences for the neighboring regencies Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Intan Jaya, Dogiyai and Puncak. 

Table with number of Covid-19 Infections in the Province of Papua as of 22 April 2020, segregated by Regencies (Source: COVID-19 Task Force, Papua Province)

No

Town

Covid-19 cases

Hospitalized

Recovered

Total deaths

1

Mimika

39

30

6

3

2

Jayapura Municipality

32

15

14

3

3

Jayapura (Regency)

25

18

6

1

4

Merauke

9

5

4

0

5

Keerom

6

5

1

0

6

Sarmi

4

2

2

0

7

Nabire

3

3

0

0

8

Jayawijaya

2

2

0

0

9

Biak Numfor

2

2

0

0

10

Mamberamo Tengah

1

1

0

0

11

Boven Digoel

1

1

0

0

T O T A L

124

84

33

7