The Jakarta Post
Men, women, rich or poor, COVID-19 can infect anyone and without prejudice.
It has been over eight months since President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the first COVID-19 cases in Indonesia in March.
Since then, the number of cases continues to increase and the disease has also infected numbers of high-ranking central and regional government officials.
On Tuesday, the governors of Jakarta and Riau, Anies Baswedan and Syamsuar, respectively, were the latest additions to a long list of government officials who have tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Anies’ Instagram post, the governor took the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on Monday, three days after his deputy Ahmad Riza Patria had taken the test on Friday, which eventually came back positive, the Jakarta administration revealed on Sunday.
Anies said he had been in close contact with Riza for some meetings several days prior and subsequently took an antigen test on Sunday that came back negative. But antigen tests are known to be less accurate than PCR tests, though they produce results faster, so further confirmation using PCR is necessary.
Meanwhile, Riau Governor Syamsuar took a PCR test on Monday and the result came back positive on Tuesday, provincial COVID-19 task force spokesperson Indra Yovi said in a live-streamed press briefing on Tuesday.
He and his wife, Misnarni, previously took a PCR test on Saturday, shortly after flying from Jakarta to Riau, and only Misnarni's result came back positive.
Prior to Anies and Syamsuar, the disease had infected three top West Java officials in March, namely Karawang Regent Cellica Nurrachadiana, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya and Bandung Deputy Mayor Yana Mulyana.
In July, the deputy mayor of Surakarta in Central Java, Achmad Purnomo, and East Kalimantan Deputy Governor Hadi Mulyadi were also reported to have contracted the disease. Both have recovered.
In August, Riau Islands Governor Isdianto tested positive for COVID-19 only four days after being sworn into office by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on July 27.
Several officials did not survive their fight against COVID-19, including regional leaders such as East Java's Situbondo regent, Dadang Wigiarto, acting Sidoarjo regent Nur Ahmad Syaifuddin and Jakarta secretary Saefullah.
The late city secretary died in September from irreversible septic shock and acute respiratory syndrome due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, at least three Cabinet members have been infected.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi became the first Indonesian official to be diagnosed with the contagious respiratory disease, less than two weeks after the first COVID-19 cases were found in the country.
Secretary Pratikno announced on March 14 that Budi was identified as Case 76 in a previous Health Ministry announcement and was being treated at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital.
Budi told tempo.co on May 16 that he got reinfected by the disease 15 days after he was discharged from the hospital.
In addition to Budi, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo and Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi also had COVID-19. (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.