Confirmed cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Indonesia exceeded the 500,000 mark on Monday (23/11); with an addition of 4,442 confirmed cases.
During the 9 months of the pandemic in Indonesia, Covid-19 cases continued to increase. New daily records for confirmed cases have been occurring; the last daily record broken was on Friday (13/11) with 5,444 new confirmed cases.
In the capital city of Jakarta, a new daily record for confirmed cases occurred on Saturday (21/11), totaling 1,579 cases.
Several hours before the Covid-19 case reached half a million, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) claimed that the active cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia were much lower than the active cases around the world.
Active cases are cases of people who are still being treated in health care facilities, or are in independent isolation. Data from the Covid-19 Task Force as of 23 November listed 63,722 active cases in Indonesia.
“As of November 22, 2020, the number of average active cases (of Covid-19) throughout the country is 12.78%. This is lower than the world average of 28.41%. This is good,” said Jokowi on the Presidential Secretariat Youtube on Monday (23/11).
Apart from boasting of lower active cases than globally, Jokowi also discussed Indonesia’s high recovery rate.
Jokowi noted that the recovery rate in Indonesia is currently 84.03%, while globally it is 69.20%.
“This is also better; the world recovery rate is 69.20%. We must continue to improve it,” explained Jokowi.
But in truth, this number of active cases cannot be a valid measure to view the success of handling the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia.
This is because active cases are the result of close contact tracing and testing in the community. Indonesia’s testing rates are still below World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
With these conditions, Australian Griffith University epidemiologist Dicky Budiman, said there is a higher possibility of active cases in Indonesia than currently recorded.
“When we view testing capacity, the active cases and the testing is low; that means we have not succeeded in detecting cases in the community that need treatment. In fact there are many [active cases] but our testing is lacking,” he explained to the media.
During the pandemic in Indonesia, said Dicky, testing for Covid-19 has never exceeded the WHO recommended target.
“Claims of success due to active cases cannot be used as a measure, because there are still cases of death, meaning we are collapsing. Many cases are not detected early in the community,” he concluded.