The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Health Ministry confirmed 484 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase in the government's count so far. The day before, the government said the curve was flattening.
Health Ministry disease control and prevention director-general Achmad Yurianto did not comment on the unprecedented increase at his daily press conference but reiterated the need for the public to be disciplined in implementing physical distancing measures.
“We have to [practice physical distancing] together if we want to be able to control the number of cases by June or July and start to live better lives and reduce the number of restrictions,” he said on Tuesday.
“We hope that, by August, our lives will be better and we can enter a new normal,” he added.
The spike in cases came one day after government officials claimed that the number of infections in the country was decreasing and spoke of the possibility of loosening social restrictions.
“The number of positive cases is flattening and going down,” said national COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo on Monday.
Last week, Doni also claimed that the number of new cases in the capital – the country’s hardest-hit province – had been trending downwards.
“We can see in the latest developments that, particularly in Jakarta, new cases have rapidly slowed down and flattened,” the National Disaster Mitigation Agency head said on April 27.
On Saturday, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said that the government was looking into the possibility of relaxing the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) enacted by regional heads across the country.
“We know there are complaints of difficulties leaving the house, going shopping, making a living and so on,” he said. “We are considering PSBB relaxations.”
Experts warned that further study was necessary before concluding that the curve had flattened, saying the country’s limited testing capabilities could lead to the underreporting or late reporting of cases.
As of Tuesday, Indonesia had conducted 88,294 COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, a rate of about 327 tests per 1 million people. Malaysia has conducted more than 6,500 tests per 1 million people. Singapore has conducted more than 24,000 tests per 1 million people.