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Asia Minute: Indonesia Increasing Focus on COVID-19

AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana
A medical team member checks a passenger's body temperature at a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, March 6, 2020.

Testing for the coronavirus continues here in Hawaii and around the Asia Pacific. That includes in Indonesia — which announced its first cases this week.

This has been a week of change when it comes to the coronavirus in Indonesia. Starting this coming Sunday, the country is going to ban foreign travelers who are coming from ten regions in three of the countries hit hardest by the virus. That includes anyone who has been in those parts of Iran, Italy and South Korea within the last two weeks.

Indonesia has had a ban on any travelers from China since early February.

On Monday, Indonesia announced its first two cases of COVID-19 — although some public health officials inside and outside the country have expressed the belief there may be many more cases. Indonesia is the fourth most-populous country in the world, and it’s a popular tourist destination for Chinese visitors.

Government officials say they are increasing the number of tests they are administering, but the process for determining who gets tested and how quickly are still not clear.

With a population of some 264-million, tests so far have been limited to several hundred.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry has expanded the amount of information it’s putting on its website, including guidance from the World Health Organization about prevention and the number for a government hotline to answer questions.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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