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Jakarta Post

Indonesia reports highest daily rise in COVID-19 cases for second time in a week

  • Kharishar Kahfi
    Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, May 9, 2020   /   06:15 pm
Indonesia reports highest daily rise in COVID-19 cases for second time in a week Health Ministry disease control and prevention director general Achmad Yurianto speaks at a press conference on COVID-19 in Jakarta on March 17. (Antara/Aditya Pradana Putra)

The Health Ministry reported its biggest one-day rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases as it confirmed 533 new cases on Saturday.

This occurred just days after the first highest daily rise on Tuesday when health authorities recorded 484 new COVID-19 cases in a day despite the government's earlier statement that the curve was flattening.

As of Saturday, there are 13,645 confirmed cases across the country, with 959 fatalities and 2,607 recoveries.

The ministry’s disease control and prevention director-general, Achmad Yurianto, did not elaborate on the increase at his daily press briefing. However, he asserted that the public should be disciplined in implementing physical distancing measures.

“This illustrates our discipline in obeying health protocols as part of [the government's] efforts fighting the COVID-19 outbreak,” Yurianto said on Saturday.

The spike in cases came one day after Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said he was grateful the country did not meet experts’ predictions that the number of COVID-19 cases would grow exponentially.

“We are grateful that the predictions saying COVID-19 cases in Indonesia will grow exponentially is not happening. Our average number of cases is still low [and] the highest number of confirmed daily cases is still lower than 500,” Muhadjir told journalists on Friday.

Other officials, including national COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo, had also claimed that the number of confirmed cases had been “flattening and going down".

The government has also been mulling over plans to ease large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in several regions, announcing this week that it would grant exemptions to travel restrictions.

Read also: Easing restrictions? Not so fast, experts say

Experts have warned that the fight against COVID-19 was far from over, as the delayed results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and the nation’s low testing capacity have made it difficult to capture the true scale of the epidemic.

As of Saturday, Indonesia has conducted 143,781 PCR tests across the country — a rate of about 526 tests per 1 million people. Meanwhile, neighboring countries Singapore and Malaysia have conducted more than 30,000 and 7,500 tests per 1 million people, respectively.