Rizki Fachriansyah, Jakarta – The rapid spread of COVID-19 has impacted as many as 30 provinces, with capital Jakarta identified as the outbreak's epicenter. Calls for the immediate implementation of stringent emergency protocols, such as regional quarantines, have mounted as the public health emergency continues unabated with over 1,200 cases and counting.
As the rest of the country scrambles to avert a looming crisis, a handful of provinces have yet to report a single confirmed COVID-19 case – pending the test results of suspected patients under surveillance.
Here are the four provinces that have maintained their zero-case status as of Monday morning, according to the government's official COVID-19 website, covid19.go.id.
East Nusa Tenggara
The province has placed a total of 460 suspected patients under surveillance, according to the East Nusa Tenggara administration's official website, nttprov.go.id.
Of those, 403 are in self-quarantine. Meanwhile, eight suspected patients with symptoms similar to the ones associated with COVID-19 are being treated at hospitals across the province, including Kupang, East and West Manggarai and East Sumba.
Beyond those numbers, however, East Nusa Tenggara has yet to report any confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Per the latest update on March 24, the province has reported 31 suspected cases, 28 of whom are patients under treatment (ODP), while three others are patients under surveillance (PDP).
"We've put three more people under treatment. Two of them are from Bengkulu city, while one is from North Bengkulu regency," Bengkulu Health Agency head Herwan Antoni said in a statement.
Herwan said the administration had yet to find any confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province.
Two patients under surveillance were confirmed to have died due to medical conditions unrelated to the coronavirus on March 17.
Bengkulu Governor Rohidin Mersyah said their test results from the Health Ministry's Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) were negative for COVID-19.
"Alhamdulillah [Thank God], Bengkulu [has yet to have] any COVID-19 cases. But still, I want every resident to remain vigilant and maintain a healthy lifestyle," Rohidin said.
The province has extended its study-from-home policy for all students by two weeks to April 12.
According to the latest update published on the local COVID-19 task force's official Instagram page @diskominfobabel on Sunday, Bangka Belitung has reported 23 suspected cases; 10 have tested negative for the disease, while the other 13 are still awaiting their test results.
Despite the relatively low number of suspected cases, the provincial administration has taken steps to limit the number of flights to and from the region ahead of the annual Cheng Beng – also known as Qing Ming – celebration, during which the region typically welcomes an influx of tourists of Chinese descent who wish to pay their respects to their ancestors and deceased loved ones.
"Completely shutting down airports seems impossible, but we can still limit [flights]," Bangka Belitung Governor Erzaldi Rosman said in a statement.
The Gorontalo Health Agency wrote on its official Twitter page @DinkesGtloProv on Sunday that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province remains zero.
However, the province has reported 844 suspected patients under treatment and 12 suspected cases under surveillance across six regions, including provincial capital Gorontalo city, Gorontalo regency, Boalemo regency, Pohuwato regency, Bone Bolango regency and North Gorontalo regency.