James Massola – Indonesia has recorded more than 100 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time, while the death toll is rising in south-east Asia's most populous nation.
Another 107 cases were reported on Tuesday, as well as six more deaths, taking the country's total to 686 infections and 55 deaths. The death toll is already the largest in south-east Asia and includes eight doctors.
Health Ministry spokesman Achmad Yurianto told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday that 4000 rapid test kits had been used in south Jakarta, one of the epicentres of the outbreak, and that "90 per cent of cases are negative".
That would suggest 400 new infections had been detected in a single day, but Tuesday's updated figures did not reflect this number.
In fact, the total number of tests reported on the Health Ministry's website rose from 2756 on Monday to 2863 on Tuesday, suggesting that all 107 people tested were positive – a statistical improbability – and clearly excluding the results of more than 4000 rapid tests carried out more than 24 hours ago.
Some medicos have resorted to using raincoats to protect themselves in the hospital wards as the country's supplies of personal protective gear has already been depleted, though the central government says it has placed large orders for fresh supplies of medical equipment.
Indonesian authorities and the country's health system appear to have been overwhelmed by the outbreak of the coronavirus in their country. Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto and Vice-President Ma'ruf Amin claimed the country had no infections and that it had been protected by the power of prayer.
But even as China has sent 125,000 rapid test kits to the country – and to other countries in south-east Asia struggling to cope with the outbreak – the number of positive cases is rising rapidly in Indonesia.
Achmad said at his daily briefing on Tuesday that south Jakarta would be prioritised as a testing area because of the outbreak there.
Politicians have gone to the front of the line for coronavirus testing – with all 575 members of parliament and their families to be tested in the coming days, despite the nationwide dearth of testing.
Meanwhile, in Singapore, the number of cases overall rose from 455 positives to 509.
Malaysia has now reported 1518 positive cases, the Philippines has reported 552 confirmed cases and 35 deaths – the second highest in south-east Asia – and Thailand has reported 827 cases, including 106 infections, and two more deaths, which brings the death toll to four.
– With Karuni Rompies, Amilia Rosa