KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 – Indonesia’s Covid-19 related mortality rate is now the highest in Asia, according to John Hopkins University and Medicine, as cited by Jakarta Globe.
It is said to be contributed by the country’s underdeveloped public health management and “regional disparities within its health system”.
“Many Indonesians are generally unfit, and this makes them more vulnerable [to Covid-19]. Most people in Indonesia have unhealthy lungs because most are smokers,” University of Indonesia epidemiologist Dr. Pandu Riono told Channel News Asia, according to Jakarta Globe.
Indonesia’s mortality rate as per case-fatality (number of deaths either per 100 confirmed cases) is at 8.4 per cent, whereas other countries in the region has recorded lower.
The Philippines recorded 6.5 per cent, China 5.6 per cent, India 3.8 per cent, Japan 2.8 per cent, South Korea 2.3 per cent, Malaysia 1.7 per cent and Singapore at 0.1 per cent.
As of today, Indonesia has 9,096 positive cases and 765 deaths.
“Due to the absence of widespread testing and as a matter of precaution, Indonesia has also put 19,648 patients under strict observation for suspected coronavirus infection,” said the Jakarta Globe.
A lackluster initial response by authorities and high number of smokers in the country have caused more deaths than that of the other countries in the region such as Malaysia (99 cases) and Singapore (14 cases).
At the beginning of last month, the country only had one laboratory capable of conducting Covid-19 testing, which meant that it took days to produce results.
Hospitals began to be quickly crowded with patients; and frontline healthcare workers were not provided with adequate personal protection equipment.
“There were suddenly too many cases in such a short space of time,” Pandu said.
“We could’ve made more beds available in the beginning of the outbreak and built more isolation rooms,” Pandu said.
At least 24 doctors in Indonesia and six nurses have died from Covid-19 since early March.