Indonesia is a new epicenter of COVID-19. The peak has not yet arrived.
“A lot of people line up at the lab for testing, but once they know the price of the test, many decide not to take it,” says Eusebius Pantja, economist at the MINDSET Institute in Indonesia.
“They want to be tested, but if they get a positive test, they have to stop working. How can they maintain their life? This limits the incentive to get tested, ”adds Aloysius Gunadi Brata, an economist at Atma Jaya Yogyakarta University in Indonesia.
The federal government claims that 84,766 people died of COVID-19 in Indonesia since the start of the pandemic. But Irma Hidayana, co-founder of Lapor Covid, a collective that gathers and shares information on the pandemic in Indonesia, believes it is a serious undercount. With more than 150 volunteers, she regularly compiles municipal COVID-19 data from 180 cities and 34 provinces. They argue that the federal government has “disappeared” more than 20,000 deaths from the national tally, which is far below what lower-level governments are reporting.
“Currently, cases are skyrocketing because they are not receiving the real information,” says Hidayana. “People don’t understand what is going on in terms of the spread of the virus and how dangerous it is. And then, suddenly, they do not follow social public health measures. ”
“Maybe they also went bankrupt”
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 1.12 million Indonesians were plunged into poverty as they worked longer hours and were at risk of infection. More than two million people have fled overcrowded cities to work in agriculture.
“Unemployment has not fallen sharply, from 6% to only 7%. But they go from high productivity jobs to low productivity jobs, ”says Faisal Basri, an economist at the University of Indonesia.