By Muhammad Nazaruddin Latief
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – The coronavirus death toll in Indonesia rose to 78 on Thursday as authorities confirmed 20 more fatalities across the country.
The number of COVID-19 cases increased to 893, with 103 more cases reported over the past 24 hours.
Government spokesman Achmad Yurianto said 462 were confirmed in the capital Jakarta, followed by West Java and South Sulawesi provinces with 73 and 14 cases, respectively.
“Four more patients have recovered and the total is now 35,” he said at a news conference in Jakarta.
He said rapid tests will soon be conducted to identify suspected patients. “People can only be diagnosed with certainty through a direct swab test of the nasal wall or the back of the throat,” said Yurianto.
He said this will be done through real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) examinations, but rapid testing remains important despite its shortcomings.
“We are also making efforts to track close contacts of all confirmed positive cases,” added Yurianto.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 175 countries and territories, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 487,600 cases have been reported worldwide since last December, with the death toll above 22,000 and nearly 118,000 successful recoveries.
The World Health Organization this month declared Europe the new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China, Italy, the U.S., Spain, Germany, Iran, and France are the worst-affected countries in the world at the moment.
*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo