While all the major countries in South East Asia are making the headlines almost everyday with the updated number of cases for the Covid-19 disease, Indonesia is being put on blast for not reporting even one case of the virus infection yet.
Now that a Japanese man is confirmed to have contracted the disease after visiting Indonesia, a country with allegedly zero cases, the nation is being fired with accusations about the legibility of their detection method.
On Feb 22, a 61-year-old man was diagnosed with Covid-19 after his return from a 4-day trip to Indonesia.
When asked about it, Amin Soebandrio, the director of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology of Indonesia highlighted that the Japanese officials did not provide them with the man’s details and his travel whereabouts in Indonesia, leaving him and his team with no lead to track the man in the case.
He also mentioned that if the man failed to show any symptoms during the 14-days incubation duration, it’s likely that he goes undetected.
This issue came as a follow-up to the previous concern of Indonesian government’s decision to not screen evacuees for Covid-19. They found no need to test them as long as they display proper health while being quarantined.
The rest of the world didn’t quite agree with them as the nation was the sixth-most popular travel destination for tourist from China, and mass infection was highly possible.
Terawan Agus Putranto, the country’s health minister, even accused a Harvard study on the situation of being insulting. The outcome of the study deduced that Indonesia should have had about five cases, taking into account the air travel volume estimates between the country and Wuhan.
The research also noted that their data was based on mathematical modelling of an estimated 98,000 Wuhan travelers who visited the country between December 2018 and November 2019.
They have also suggested that Indonesia fortify its detection systems, which they believe could be the reason behind undetected cases.
The findings were backed up by an interview statement from Marc Lipsitch, one of the five researchers of the study and professor of epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
“I have emphasized that many countries, not only Indonesia, probably face the same issue: detection at the border is not 100-percent effective, even with excellent levels of testing,” he explained to Al Jazeera.