Global governments’ transparency and quick responds have been put to the test when it comes to responding to the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has infected more than 50 countries and claimed more than 3,000 lives globally so far.
Indonesia’s Response to Coronavirus
Indonesia’s lawmakers and press professionals have urged the government to be transparent in providing information on the outbreak following the country’s first confirmed cases announced in Depok, West Java, on Monday, March 2.
A mother and her daughter tested positive for COVID-19 after having contact with their Japanese friend who was from Malaysia. Both were then admitted to Sulianti Saroso Infectious Hospital (RSPI) in North Jakarta, and are now recovering after undergoing intensive treatment in the hospital’s isolation room.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Health Terawan Agus Putranto denied allegations that the government had hidden facts about the infection. Previously, Indonesia claimed that there had been zero cases of COVID-19 infection, raising fears that the illness went undetected.
“If we are not transparent, it is impossible for me to deal with any situation. How can my face show that I am not transparent?,” the radiologist told journalists, adding that skeptics can visit the Sebaru Island where numerous Indonesian crew members of a Diamond Princess cruise are being quarantined.
Singapore’s Transparency in Treating COVID-19
Singapore prioritizes transparency in combating the COVID-19 illness that as infected more than 100 so far in the tiny country, with no fatalities have been recorded as of Wednesday, March 4. Every day the government updates the real-time information on the number of infected people, their condition, how those patients had contacts with either affected people or places. However, the authority respects the privacy of the infected people by not exposing their identities.
The country confirmed its first COVID-19 case on January 23. Two weeks later, the government raised the risk level from yellow to orange.
Singapore’s solid cooperation with related international institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries also helps to tackle the uncertain situation. Furthermore, Singapore has distributed test kits to identify three different types of viruses.
The WHO praises Singapore for discovering every new case, following up with contacts and halting transmissions quickly. Harvard University also recognizes Singapore’s high standard for the detection of COVID-19-related infection.
Governments Should Be Cautious Before Releasing Statements
Governments remain cautious before announcing new cases as they do not want to spread misleading information. In Indonesia’s case, Depok Administration decided not to hurriedly reveal the case until it was confirmed by the country’s Health Ministry and announced by President Joko Widodo.
“I have yet to receive the information directly, I just got from Whatsapp, I need to confirm first whether the news is accurate or not,” said Depok Administration Secretary Hardiono when asked the numbers of infected people in the area as VIVA wrote.
Indonesia ‘s Health Ministry has set up a hotline for COVID-19-related infection. The Jakarta administration has followed suit, as local publications wrote. However, as of Wednesday evening (March 4), Insideover could not reach both hotline numbers run by the ministry.
China’s Coronavirus Infection Count is Declining
Besides transparency, governments’ swift action to handle the outbreak plays a significant factor in reducing the number of fatalities. In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic started, around 2,570 people have recovered so far,as Xinhua reported.
As of Tuesday, March 3, the number of new COVID-19 illness reached 202 as Beijing recorded, the lowest since January 21 due to China’s government efforts to take preventive measures such as the government’s actions to build specialized hospitals to treat patients with severe infections.
Vietnam is one Asian country that has confirmed that all 16 COVID-19-infected patients have recovered, thanks to intensive meetings and coordination involving the country’s Ministry of Health and related institutions and request for check-ups.
Vietnam’s Contagious Disease Agency prepared questionnaires to determine who should undergo a thorough check-up, based on his or her body temperature, whether he of she had contacts with Chinese people, and so on.
Rafi Kot, an Israeli doctor who was involved in Vietnam’s effort to contain the outbreak said that medical staff could detect when people are telling lies because they are afraid of further diagnosis.