The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration is reporting a worsening trend in the number of funerals using the protocols for people who died from the fast-spreading COVID-19.
Between March 6 and Wednesday, 401 corpses were buried using the protocols: They were sprayed with disinfectant, covered in plastic and put inside coffins, according to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.
Anies said the number of COVID-19-related funerals began to pick up on March 12, nearly a week after the first such funeral.
On Thursday before 12 p.m. alone, the administration reported 38 bodies were buried using the protocols.
“We were looking into data not only from the Health Ministry but also from cemeteries because some people with COVID-19 had not finished their test processes […] before they died,” Anies said during an online video conference with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Thursday. “Hence, we could not declare them COVID-19 patients.”
Jakarta, the national epicenter of the outbreak, has started to conduct rapid tests across the province as the recent wave COVID-19 cases showed no signs of slowing down.
It had performed rapid tests on 18,077 people by Tuesday, according to the Jakarta Health Agency’s head of disease control and prevention division, Dwi Oktavia Handayani.
The test, which analyzes blood to detect whether a person has contracted the virus, found that 299 people were positive for COVID-19 while the remaining 17,778 people returned negative results.
As of Thursday, the COVID-19 coronavirus, first discovered in December in Wuhan city in Hubei province in China, had infected 885 people in Jakarta — nearly half of the country’s confirmed cases.
Of the confirmed cases in the capital, 90 people had died of the disease while only 53 had recovered.
“The situation is very concerning,” said the governor. “This was the reason we wrote a letter to the President proposing an extreme restriction measure.”
Speaking with the Vice President, Anies requested support from the government in the form of testing kits that use throat swabs to detect whether a person has contracted the coronavirus.
“Jakarta badly needs support to speed up the testing so we can detect people with the disease earlier,” said Anies. “Many cases were treated late. It has severe consequences if we are late in detection. They may already transmit the virus to others.”
Ma’ruf said he would recommend the government support Jakarta in improving its testing.