JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia recorded its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections on Thursday with 8,369 new cases, according to its COVID-19 task force, which attributed the jump to a lag in some areas reporting cases.
The sharp spike – more than 2,000 cases higher than the previous record on Sunday – brings Indonesia’s infections total to 557,877, among the highest in Asia. It has so far recorded 17,355 deaths related to COVID-19.
Experts say the Southeast Asian nation’s low testing has masked a higher number of infections.
Cases have steadily risen since March but the volume of new daily infections has increased in recent weeks, with record daily infections in four of the past nine days.
Task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said Thursday’s spike was due to data reporting and verification delays in several regions.
That included Papua, he said, where all 1,755 of the cases it has recorded since Nov. 19 were reflected in Thursday’s national figures.
“This very high number is caused by a system that’s not optimal at accommodating real-time recording and data validation,” Wiku said. Central Java and West Java also had lags, he said.
The recent jump in daily cases, however, was a worrying indicator.
“This shows that the rate of transmission is still increasing,” he said.
“It happens because people increasingly flout health protocols and this negligence could be fatal.”
(Reporting by Maikel Jefriando and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Kate Lamb, Martin Petty)