Indonesia has suffered its worst single-day death toll of the pandemic, the country’s health ministry revealed on Tuesday when announcing a record 2,069 Covid fatalities in the previous 24 hours amid a surge in cases.

The nation’s deadliest day since the pandemic began marks an increase of almost 600 deaths over the previous 24 hours, and is significantly higher than last week’s single-day record of 1,566 deaths, according to health ministry data.

The concerning rise in deaths from Covid in Indonesia comes amid soaring case numbers, which saw new infections spike to more than 45,000 on Tuesday, from 28,000 on Monday. Health officials had recently reported a record number of new weekly infections, with 350,273 cases registered in the seven days ending July 12. 

The Indonesia government decided on Monday to relax its pandemic restrictions, allowing some businesses and shopping malls to reopen despite the high number of positive Covid tests. The nation’s president, Joko Widodo, defended the easing of rules by citing the country’s falling hospital occupancy rates. 

Even in the worst-hit areas of Indonesia, the relaxation has allowed traditional markets, vendors and open-air restaurants to join some businesses and mosques in reopening, although offices remain under shutdown orders. The Delta variant has fuelled new infections in a number of regions outside of the capital Jakarta, including Java and Bali. 

Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation in the world, has recorded 3.19 million confirmed cases of Covid, the 14th-highest figure of any country globally. With 58.7 million doses of a Covid vaccine administered so far, the Asian nation has suffered 84,766 deaths from the virus throughout the pandemic.

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