Since the pandemic began last year, almost half of Jakarta’s 10 million population has had Covid-19, stoking hopes that the capital would soon reach the elusive herd immunity against the disease.
A survey conducted by Jakarta’s health department with help from researchers from the University of Indonesia, the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, and CDC Indonesia on March 15-31, found that 44.5 percent of the capital’s population had the antibody for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that caused the pneumonia-like disease, in their body.
That indicates that more people in the capital had been exposed to the virus at some time in the past, seven times greater than the official data suggested. Jakarta’s official record only showed more than 649,000 people in the capital, or about 6.1 percent of its population, have had Covid-19, with 9,349 of them died from the disease.
Experts have long suspected the real figure for the Covid-19 pandemic in the capital was higher than the official record indicated, especially with the city burial data showed an unusually high number of burials with biosecurity protocol.
The latest survey confirmed the extent of the pandemic in Jakarta, Widyastuti, the head of the city’s health department, said.
“Through this survey, we can estimate the proportion of Jakarta residents who the SARS CoV-2 virus has infected, whether confirmed by PCR tests or not,” Widyastuti, referring to the polymerase chain reaction test, a golden standard for Covid-19 virus diagnostic, by its initial.
“We can also see a complete picture of the pandemic situation in Jakarta. So, the handling and control strategies can also be adjusted,” she said.