Indonesia’s Revival in Consumer Spending Is Also Risk Outbreak Could Worsen

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A shorter holiday and last-minute restrictions did little to keep Indonesians from traveling over the year-end, a sign of revival in consumer spending while posing a risk that the coronavirus outbreak could worsen.

More than 115,000 people traveled by airplane on average each day from Dec. 18 through Jan. 4, an increase of 16% from November, according to transport ministry data. While fewer people traveled using trains and ships during the period, more people got on flights than any other mode of transportation reported by the ministry.

That’s despite the government cutting short the public holiday period and telling people to limit travel and celebrations, while provinces including Jakarta and Bali set more stringent testing requirements for visitors.

Indonesia is bracing for a potential spike in coronavirus infections in January. While the daily increase in confirmed cases has remained below a record set in early December, the country’s high positivity rate could signal insufficient testing. The rate was 22% on Monday, after almost reaching 30% on Saturday, compared with the World Health Organization’s recommendation to ensure it remains below 5%.

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