Indonesia: New daily Covid-19 record, total cases top 800,000; clerics declare Sinovac's virus vaccine halal


Graffiti artists embellish concrete pillars of the Cawang-Tanjung Priuk elevated toll road in East Jakarta. Through the murals, the artists want to remind the public to adhere to health protocol. On Friday (Jan 8), Indonesia shattered its COovid-19 daily record with more than 10,000 new cases. - Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

JAKARTA, Jan 8 (Reuters): Indonesia reported on Friday a record daily number of new Covid-19 cases for the third successive day with 10,617 infections, bringing the total to over 800,000, data from the country's Covid-19 task force showed.

The South-East Asia biggest country also reported 233 new Covid-19 deaths, taking that total to 23,753

More than 87.42 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,888,982 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac Biotech is deemed halal, or permissible under Islam, the Indonesian Ulema Council said on Friday (Jan 8), days before the country is scheduled to start its inoculation programme using the Chinese vaccine.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, has 3 million doses of CoronaVac and plans to use it when it starts its vaccination programme on Wednesday, with President Joko Widodo due to receive the first shot.

Asrorun Niam Sholeh of the council's fatwa commission told a news conference that Sinovac's CoronaVac was "holy and halal", although authorisation for its use still rests on Indonesia's food and drug agency (BPOM).

"This could be the information that could soothe the people, especially Muslims," Niam said.

Indonesia is struggling with the worst Covid-19 epidemic in South-East Asia and authorities are relying on a vaccine to help alleviate the health and economic crises ravaging the country.

It confirmed a record daily rise in Covid-19 cases for the third consecutive day on Friday, reporting more than 10,000 daily infections for the first time and passing the 800,000 mark in cases, among the highest number in Asia.

It reported 10,617 new infections on Friday, taking total cases to 808,340. It has recorded 23,753 deaths.

Indonesia's Covid-19 full total and its death toll is also the worst in South-East Asia.

Regulator BPOM has said it is hopeful that emergency use approval for CoronaVac, which depends on the results of the vaccine's Indonesian trials, will be issued before Wednesday.

CoronaVac was 78% effective in a late-stage Brazilian trial with no severe COVID-19 cases, researchers said on Thursday. - Reuters
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