A woman prays at Pondok Ranggon cemetery – one of two official cemeteries for Covid-19 victims in Jakarta – on April 22. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Coronavirus Cases in Indonesia Hit New High, Funeral Figure Suggests More Deaths


MAY 01, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia again recorded the highest daily rise in new coronavirus infections on Friday. The number has fluctuated wildly in recent days amid worries that the actual amount of confirmed cases and deaths from Covid-19 are much higher than the official tally.

The National Covid-19 Task Force said the number of confirmed cases has increased by 433 since Thursday to 10,551. The total number included 800 deaths and 1,591 patients who have recovered.

"Of the total confirmed cases, 58 percent are male," task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said in his daily video conference in Jakarta.

"Male patients also make up the majority of the death toll, 66 percent," he said.


Achmad said last week that the government tally only included cases that have been confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

Probable cases from antibody testing, rapid testing or visible clinical symptoms are not included.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization said Covid-19 death "is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness, in probable or confirmed Covid-19 cases, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to Covid-19 disease (e.g. trauma)." 

"There should be no period of complete recovery from Covid-19 between illness and death," the world body said on its April 11 daily report.

If probable cases are included in the coronavirus death toll as required by the WHO, the number of people dying from the disease in Indonesia could quadruple from the current official figure.

In Jakarta alone, the city's bereavement services have buried 1,592 people according to strict Covid-19 protocols as of Thursday, meaning the dead were most likely probable or confirmed Covid-19 cases.

The figure is almost double the national figure for Covid-19 deaths, and four times as many as the reported Covid-19 deaths in the capital.

Indonesian Doctors Association Chairman Daeng Muhammad Faqih has said in an interview that a lot more people have died from Covid-19 than what the government has said.

"I don't want to dispute government data, because the death toll figures based on PCR-based testing are valid. What I want to say is… [that the] deaths from probable cases should be included too," Daeng said in an April 23 interview with Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu.

"The death toll from probable cases is [likely to be] high but it cannot be confirmed. Meanwhile, PCR testing takes a long time," he said.

Achmad said the number of persons under surveillance for probable cases has increased by 2,709 to a staggering 233,120 over the past 24 hours. The number of patients suspected of having the virus stood at 22,123, or 296 more than yesterday.