COVID-19 cases in Indonesia could cross 100,000 mark, says national taskforce expert

COVID-19 cases in Indonesia could cross 100,000 mark, says national taskforce expert

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jakarta
A boy peeks outside from a window, as large-scale social restrictions were introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s COVID-19 cases is predicted to exceed 100,000, an expert with the government pandemic task force said on Thursday (Apr 16).

In a press briefing, Professor Wiku Adisasmito said the number of cases is predicted to peak between early May and the beginning of June. This is based on predictions by experts, scientific institutions and individuals.

“We have reviewed and combined all the predictions ... The number of cases during the peak cumulative is 95,000. Whereas in June and July, the confirmed cases cumulative will be reaching 106,000,” he said.

READ: Cooped up in small homes and lacking awareness, Jakarta’s urban poor find it tough amid partial lockdown

He noted, however, that the number is not a rigid figure, and the government hopes that the number of cases will be lower.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 5,516 COVID-19 cases reported in the country with 496 deaths and 548 recovered cases.

Indonesia has one of the highest fatality rates in the world, between 8 per cent and 9 per cent.

ATTEMPTS UNDERWAY TO INTEGRATE DATA NATIONALLY

Since Indonesia announced its first COVID-19 cases on Mar 2, observers have criticised the government for not announcing details of the cases and providing reliable as well as coherent data.

The government had initially explained that this was to avoid causing public panic. Earlier this week, however, President Joko Widodo instructed officials to provide transparent data.

READ: Indonesia’s first 3 COVID-19 patients open up about online hate and stigmatisation

Prof Adisasmito said the government is working on this as quickly as possible.

“We are now integrating the data in the COVID-19 task force. We are working very hard to make sure that there is data integration at all levels within Indonesia, from the district level, provincial level, and national level," he said, adding that there are efforts to improve the validity of the data.

“As soon as we have all the data integrated and valid, we will be informing the public on the situation.”

Indonesia's doctors association has warned that the crisis there is worse than officially
Indonesia's doctors association has warned that the crisis there is worse than officially reported AFP/JUNI KRISWANTO

BANNING IDUL FITRI EXODUS WOULD HURT THE UNEMPLOYED: TASK FORCE HEAD

Questions have also been asked over the central government's decision to stop short of barring movement of people during the upcoming Idul Fitri holidays, where many would usually leave the big cities to go back to their hometowns, potentially leading to the virus spreading further. 

Only civil servants, military, police as well as employees of state-owned enterprises are barred from participating in the Idul Fitri exodus.

Healthcare workers rest as they finish swab tests for the coronavirus
Healthcare workers rest as they finish swab tests for the coronavirus in Depok, south of Jakarta, Indonesia. Antara Foto/Asprilla Dwi Adha/ via REUTERS

The head of the COVID-19 task force, Mr Doni Monardo said during the Thursday briefing that the decision was taken because the government wanted to protect those who have lost their livelihoods in the cities. 

“Those who lost their jobs entirely and those who have been made redundant …. cannot sustain their life for the next three to six months … If they remain in the capital city, it’s almost impossible for them to get assistance (as their official place of residence is in the other provinces)," he noted.

READ: Indonesia’s economic stimulus not enough to stop layoffs, focus should be to contain COVID-19, say experts

“If they return to their hometowns, they will be able to obtain that (assistance) because they have their own agriculture ... This will provide a bit of sustenance for them,” said Mr Monardo.

During the press briefing, it was also mentioned that the government is targeting to increase the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to 10,000 tests a day, in order to enhance detection of COVID-19 cases.

As of Thursday, the Indonesian government has tested about 35,000 individuals nationwide.

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Source: CNA/aw

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