James Massola, Karuni Rompies and Amilia Rosa – A decision to fast track coronavirus testing for all of Indonesia's 575 politicians and their families has prompted a furious response, as the country struggles to role out testing for the general population.
While MPs and their families are due to be tested next week, the country of nearly 270 million people has only reported 2756 tests. So far, it has reported 686 positive cases and 55 dead including eight doctors. In comparison, Australia has conducted more than 140,000 tests and South Korea has more than 300,000.
But experts believe the number of undetected cases could be much higher, given the mortality rate is 8.5 per cent in Indonesia at present, much higher than the global average of about 1 per cent.
Unverified viral videos are circulating widely on social media of people dying on the streets of Jakarta and in other cities such as Bali, where Frenchman Gerard Philippe Follet died nine days ago while waiting for emergency services to reach him.
Criticism of the fast-track testing for politicians has been swift on social media and Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono said the decision was "not fair, it's outrageous".
"A lot of people are angry with parliamentarians as even doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers – the people on the front lines – are not being tested. It has made people very angry. This reinforces the idea that they are selfish."
He said President Joko Widodo "has been too slow, he had been notified since January that this would be a problem. But he was more worried about the economy and how it would affect tourism, so he did not prepare. They did not take it seriously, they have not supplied enough masks, gloves or hazmat suits. Some doctors have been using raincoats. That's why eight doctors have died, and we don't know how many nurses [have died]."
But Charles Honoris, an MP from the President's PDIP party, defended the decision to fast track testing for politicians as a "crucial" move to keep the government functioning.
"I have to say it objectively, I am not defending anyone and this is not about privilege. I think we have to be tested in order to make sure that the government runs effectively," he said.
He said the government was looking to import a million test kits and backed free testing for all Indonesians citizens who needed it.
Indonesian authorities are scrambling to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. China has donated 125,000 rapid test kits which have begun to be distributed around the country. A sharp uptick in positive cases is expected once testing begins in greater numbers.
Joko has resisted calls for a lock down to stop the spread of the disease, even as individual provinces and cities implement tighter restrictions on movement and gatherings.
In Jakarta, office workers have been told to stay home but millions of nannies, drivers, labourers and other low paid workers are not able to do the same, with trains still packed with people heading to work.
Bali has allowed hundreds of cruise ship passengers to disembark on their shore, despite other Indonesian ports turning them away over coronavirus fears.
National exams have been suspended and the athlete's village from 2018 Asian games has been converted into a temporary medical facility as hospitals struggle to cope with an influx of cases.
Police have been warning people not to hold mass gatherings such as weddings and at coffee shops, with the threat of fines to those do not obey the edict.