More than 2,200 Indonesians who died may have had COVID-19 symptoms, data shows

JAKARTA (CNA) – More than 2,200 Indonesians have died with acute symptoms of COVID-19 but were not recorded as victims of the disease, a Reuters review of data from 16 of the country’s 34 provinces showed.

Three medical experts said the figures indicated the national death toll was likely to be much higher than the official figure of 765.

Indonesia has one of the lowest testing rates in the world and some epidemiologists say that has made it harder to get an accurate picture of the extent of infections in the world’s fourth most populous country.

The most current data from the 16 provinces shows there were 2,212 deaths of patients under supervision because they have acute coronavirus symptoms. Indonesia’s Health Ministry uses the acronym PDP to classify these patients when there is no other clinical explanation for their symptoms.

The data is collated by provincial agencies daily or weekly from figures supplied by hospitals, clinics and officials overseeing burials. It was obtained by Reuters by checking websites, talking to provincial officials and reviewing World Health Organization (WHO) reports.

The 2,212 deaths were in addition to the deaths of 693 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 in those provinces and were officially recorded as victims of the disease.

The 16 provinces account for more than three-quarters of the country’s 260 million population.