Ardila Syakriah, Jakarta – As questions mount over the validity of the government's COVID-19 data, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil confirmed that the numbers announced by the Health Ministry in its daily press conferences did not match that reported by his regional administration.
"After [the COVID-19 outbreak] ends, I need to press the central government to give more powers to regional governments in dealing with crisis," Ridwan said in a roundtable discussion with foreign ambassadors on Monday.
He said this was necessary because regional administrations had a better grasp of grassroots level data.
"For example, I reported 30 cases today, the central government put five in the report. I reported seven today, the central government reports 50," he said. "That's why in today's pandemic we are using our own data, not using the central government's data to create scientific data analysis."
According to the Health Ministry's official count, the number of new cases in West Java has fluctuated widely in the past few weeks, with some days reporting zero new confirmed cases and other days more than 100 new cases.
Ridwan said the data discrepancies also extended to government COVID-19 aid, adding that this confusion was the main cause of public dissatisfaction during the outbreak
"We discuss the potential for social unrest [due to economic concerns] with the local intelligence agencies, but so far there has been no issue, only confusion from the public about how we're handling [the outbreak]," he said.