Jakarta, 23 March, 2020: Indonesia has estimated the number of people who have had possible contact with Covid-19 suspects to be at more than half a million, the authorities said as the government started rapid testing for the virus on its population.
This “high risk” group of between 600,000 and 700,000 people are scattered across the country, with South Jakarta being the worst hit, the authorities said.
Earlier, President Joko Widodo said in a statement broadcast live on national television that Indonesia started rapid testing for the virus on Friday afternoon.
“We are doing it in areas based on our contact tracing of the (coronavirus) patients. We are going door-to-door to test people,” Mr Joko said. “The result of our mapping indicates the hardest-hit area is South Jakarta.” He did not disclose the other locations.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, with a 270 million population, is catching up with testing its citizens who might be carrying the coronavirus infections as the government faces mounting criticism for being slow in detecting infections. Indonesia announced its first two cases of coronavirus on March 2.
There have been several cases where patients with pneumonia were detected to have had the coronavirus only after they died, or just a day prior to their deaths.