Professor Amin Soebandrio, the director of Jakarta’s Eijkman Institute of Microbiology, warned on Thursday the country’s caseload could double from about 35,000 to 65,000 infections in the next two weeks as testing rates ramped up.
The professor also suggested a rise from 2,000 to 3,000 new cases per day. The number of cases has now reached 36,406, the second-highest in south-east Asia, and the death toll rose by 48 on Friday to 2,048, the highest in the region.
The latest results reported 15,333 specimens tested from 7,476 people, an improvement on the laggard test results of the first few months of the coronavirus outbreak but well behind other countries in the region.
Indonesia is a nation of nearly 270 million people and has conducted just 1,696 tests per 1 million people, which ranks it 163rd out of 215 nations listed on the Worldometers.info website.
Health official Achmad Yurianto defended the low testing rates per million people during his daily briefing.
“Indonesia consists of islands with waters between them that act as barriers. Therefore threats in places would be different and can’t be compared with countries with bigger land proportions. In numbers overall our percentage testing per million people is low. But if we look at places like Jakarta than the percentage shows we are doing higher testing,” he said.