With the SARS-CoV-2 virus continuing to spread at an alarming rate, more and more public figures are contracting COVID-19, including United States President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia, high-ranked officials, including Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi, have also tested positive for COVID-19.
However, despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases around the globe, a Statistics Indonesia (BPS) survey has discovered that 17 percent of Indonesians believe it is impossible for them to contract the disease.
“It is a huge number,” said national COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo during a virtual event on Friday.
Doni explained that given the country’s population of 270 million people, 17 percent meant that 44.9 million people believed they would not catch the virus.
He went on to say that a previous survey conducted in July had revealed that there were five provinces with high percentages of COVID-19 ignorance, namely Jakarta, where 30 percent of people believe they will not catch the virus, followed by East Java with 29 percent, Central Java 18 percent, West Java 16 percent and South Kalimantan 14 percent.
Meanwhile, the latest survey conducted by BPS from Sept. 7 to 14, involving 90,967 respondents, showed that Maluku and North Sulawesi were ranked first and second in the category, with 29.18 and 27.66 percent, respectively, of respondents from the provinces certain that they would not get coronavirus.
Doni said that a lack of public awareness campaigns was a contributing factor to the issue.
“There are still many people that have yet to receive full information about COVID-19,” he said.
With that in mind, Doni encouraged all elements of society to take part in curbing the transmission of COVID-19.
During the discussion Doni also mentioned Bali, where, according to the survey, 20.78 percent of people believe they will not contract COVID-19.
Doni explained that he had asked Bali Governor I Wayan Koster to involve all elements of society in handling COVID-19.
“[When] more people are involved in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, it will directly increase awareness,” he reasoned.
When asked about how the government is dealing with misinformation about COVID-19, Doni explained that starting Oct. 1, the national COVID-19 task force had begun a partnership with the Press Council and other journalist associations to work on a COVID-19 awareness program.
Moreover, the task force also invited 5,800 journalists from across the archipelago to participate in the Behavior Change Program, which aims to fight misinformation.
Doni shared his hopes that this collaboration would help to increase awareness that COVID-19 was real and not a conspiracy.
Indonesia has seen a continuously rising number of cases since March. As of Saturday, the country had recorded 328,952 confirmed cases with 251,481 recoveries and 11,765 deaths. (jes)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.