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Jakarta Post

Indonesia's confirmed COVID-19 cases may spike in upcoming days, govt warns

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 17, 2020   /   09:11 pm
Indonesia's confirmed COVID-19 cases may spike in upcoming days, govt warns The government’s spokesperson for COVID-19, Achmad Yurianto, who is also the Health Ministry’s director general for disease control and prevention, speaks to the press on March 11 in Jakarta. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

The government has warned that the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Indonesia may spike in the upcoming days as they are set to receive more results from 12 laboratories across the country that were recently authorized to conduct COVID-19 tests.

“We acknowledge that there might be a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases since we have been very active in conducting [contact] tracing and people have become more aware about the disease,” Health Ministry disease control and prevention director general Achmad Yurianto said on Tuesday.

He said authorities would continue to trace other people who may have been exposed to the disease more thoroughly.

The government had so far tested more than 2,300 samples from patients suspected of being infected by the coronavirus, Yurianto claimed.

Previously, the COVID-19 tests were only supposed to be performed by the Jakarta-based Health Research and Development Agency, since it was the only laboratory that had been authorized by the government.

However, as of Tuesday the tests can be carried out in 12 laboratories as stipulated in Health Ministerial decree No. 01/2020.

Read also: COVID-19: Indonesia suspends visa-free policy, expands ban for people from worst-hit countries

As of Tuesday afternoon, he said, the government had already received specimens of six confirmed cases from Airlangga University, Surabaya, East Java, adding that the laboratory had performed its task very well.

Yurianto also hoped that other authorized laboratories, such as the Eijkman Institute for Microbiology in Jakarta and the Health Ministry’s Environmental Health and Disease Control Centers in 10 cities across Indonesia, would also send their results to the government immediately.

“We will also shorten the procedure for delivering specimens from hospitals to laboratories,” he said, without elaborating further about the current procedure.

Yurianto also urged the public to promptly visit hospitals if they had been in contact with COVID-19 patients, and went on to advise people not to panic when the government announced a staggering increase of confirmed cases of the disease in the upcoming days.

On Tuesday afternoon, Indonesia announced 38 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 172. The death toll remains at five while nine have recovered from the disease, according to the government's data. (glh)