Until now, the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia continues to be highlighted by various foreign media in the world. At the outset of the pandemic, Indonesia’s government was slow to respond and reluctant to reveal what it knew to the public.
As information, until Thursday (August 20, 2020) Indonesia has officially reported 6,346 deaths from COVID-19, the highest overall toll in Southeast Asia, although before Indonesia shows no signs of containing the virus.
As quoted News24xx.com from Channel News Asia, reported a number of aspects that made the handling of the pandemic in this country very weak.
One of the concerns is related to the steps that were taken by the government after the virus spreads. It now has the fastest infection spread in East Asia, with 17 percent of people tested turning out positive, rising close to 25 percent outside the capital, Jakarta.
Channel News Asia assesses that the actual number of positive cases in Indonesia may still be hidden because India and the Philippines are testing four times more per capita, while the United States is testing 30 times more.
Indonesia’s confirmed 144,945 infections out of a population of 270 million are much less than the millions reported in the United States, Brazil, India, and below the neighboring Philippines, which has less than half Indonesia’s population.
But the true scale of Indonesia’s outbreak may still be hidden, because statistics from Our World in Data, a non-profit research project based at the University of Oxford, show Indonesia ranked 83rd out of 86 countries surveyed for overall tests per capita.
Iwan Ariawan, an epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia said, “Our concern is that we have not reached the peak, the peak may come around October and may not finish this year. We can’t say it’s under control.”
And about testing problems also did not escape the spotlight. The positive cases claimed by the government are increasing every day.
A health officer in Banjarmasin, Rahmat Januar Nor as quoted by Reuters said information about new coronavirus cases often came into his office in varying states of disorder, with incomplete names, inactive phone numbers, or outdated addresses for patients and their contacts, problems seen by healthcare workers across the country.
“We asked the village leaders for help. But in the end, we didn’t find them (the contacts) most of the time. And when we can to reach contacts, many refused to be tested, fearful they would lose their jobs or be ostracised in the community,” Nor added.
And also the problems can continue to grow, after Indonesia’s decision to reject full lockdowns was driven by economic and security concerns. Instead, the government has urged Indonesians to wear masks, wash their hands, and practice social distancing while working, traveling, and socializing.
But, a number of officials such as President Joko Widodo and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan looked proud when they learned that Indonesia’s economy shrank by only 5.3 percent in the second quarter of 2020, much less than many other regional economies.
But epidemiologists say they fear the decision will cost Indonesia more in the long term, especially as its health system is poorly equipped to cope if positive cases continue to surge. As information, Indonesia has only 2.5 intensive care beds per 100,000 people, according to the country’s national disaster agency, which leads the COVID-19 task force. That compares to 6.9 per 100,000 people in India, according to an April report from Princeton University.
This condition is exacerbated by the official saying that treatment can be done with things that have not been scientifically proven. For example, anti-COVID necklaces, wine to cat rice.
The solution reflects an unscientific approach to fighting the coronavirus in the world’s fourth most populous country, where testing rates are among the lowest in the world.