The Jakarta Post
National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Agus Wibowo says that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases the central government has been publishing did not match the figures that regional administrations were reporting.
Agus said on Sunday during a virtual discussion with the Energy Academy Indonesia that the BNPB had been collating reports from both the Health Ministry and regional administrations in its work behind the scenes, and claimed that he did not understand the reason for the discrepancy in the data.
“BNPB gathers data from the regions and the Health Ministry. We compare them. But because the [government] spokesman is Pak Yuri, we publish what he reports,” Agus said, referring to Achmad Yurianto, the Health Ministry’s disease prevention and control director general.
Agus confirmed a lack of data transparency from the central government, saying that the data the BNPB received from the Health Ministry was limited.
“We have been fed limited data from the Health Ministry, so we have not been able to provide complete or [transparent] data,” said Agus.
“I just found out that what the Health Ministry reports to the WHO [World Health Organization] is complete, with the case gender, age and [medical] status. I’ve only just been made aware that such data [exists],” he said.
Agus said that the disaster agency was currently developing the Lawan COVID-19 (fight COVID-19) application, which would gather data on confirmed cases from around the country and be made available in the coming week.
“We are mobilizing many personnel from the BNPB and BPBDs [Regional Disaster Mitigation Agencies], also the military and the police, for data input that will connect to the application,” he said.
KawalCOVID-19 community group initiator Ainun Najib, who also participated in the discussion on April 5, said that the government needed to be more open about the outbreak on Indonesian shores, fearing that inaccurate data that did not reflect the reality might catch the public off guard.
“People could perhaps think [that cases] have declined,” Ainun said.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan earlier cast doubt on the central government’s data, saying that the capital had buried more than 400 Jakartans according to COVID-19 protocol.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil also suggested that the number of confirmed cases in his province was exponentially higher than the central government’s published figures.
During a teleconference with Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Friday, Ridwan said that the government's official count reported only 225 confirmed cases in West Java on Friday, but that his administration's rapid testing program had identified 677 new cases.
By Sunday, Indonesia's COVID-19 epicenter of Jakarta had recorded 1,124 confirmed cases and 95 deaths, followed by West Java with 252 confirmed cases and 28 deaths.