Undercounting COVID-19 cases is believed to be a problem barely unique to Indonesia, however a recent claim from professionals may be the strongest sign yet that some Indonesian regions are deliberately crushing case numbers for political reasons.
Lapor COVID-19(Report COVID-19), a civil society union that crowdsources coronavirus info from throughout the country, today stated that some regional authorities are pushing doctors to control COVID-19 data, as tweeted by among the coalition’s leaders, Ahmad Arif.
Laporcovid-19 mendapat informasi dari sejumlah dokter yang ditekan kepala daerah agar mengurangi tes PCR dan hanya memakai tes cepat antibodi agar kasus positif di daerah tidak bertambah. Daerah itu meliputi Nusa Tenggara Barat, serta Lamongan dan Kediri, Jawa Timur.
— Ahmad Arif (@aik_arif) July 3, 2020
” Lapor COVID-19 received tip-offs from a variety of physicians that they were pressured by regional authorities to reduce PCR screening and to just use antibody fast testing so the number of favorable cases in the region doesn’t increase. The areas consist of [the province of] West Nusa Tenggara, in addition to Lamongan and Kediri in East Java,” Ahmad tweeted.
Another leading member of the coalition, Irma Hidayana, said that one of their health care collaborators, which consist of a few of the top experts in the market, was among those who reported being pressured to keep case numbers low in their region.
Based on their findings, Lapor COVID-19 is urging the main federal government to ditch the less-reliable and cost-ineffective rapid tests and focus on PCR screening across Indonesia.
The identities of the regional heads who supposedly controlled COVID-19 data were not divulged, though no official from the regions discussed by Ahmad have actually issued any statement so far.
Since July 2, East Java is the province with the greatest COVID-19 caseload in Indonesia, comprising 12,695 verified cases. Its death toll, 948, is also the highest in the country.
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