Why Indonesia has the highest COVID-19 fatality rate in Asia

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JAKARTA: Multiple factors contribute to Indonesia’s high COVID-19 fatality rate, including poor general health and gaps in the healthcare system, said experts interviewed by CNA. 

It is widely believed that old age and pre-existing medical conditions play a significant part in the fatality rate. In the case of Indonesia, which has the highest fatality rate in Asia, other factors such as a high incidence of smoking and what is said to be an inadequate early response by the authorities are also key.

Indonesian epidemiologist Pandu Riono said there are many factors which could lead to a COVID-19 death, from the patient’s age to the underlying conditions the person had.

“Many Indonesians are generally less fit and this made them more susceptible.

“Most people in Indonesia don’t take care of their lungs well, because most of them are smokers,” he noted.

Indonesia has the highest rate of male smokers in the world at about 75 per cent, according to 2015 World Health Organization data.

He added that this is also the reason why many people suffer from cardiac disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

Since Indonesia reported its first COVID-19 death in the middle of March, just less than 10 days after President Joko Widodo announced the country’s first two COVID-19 cases, the fatality rate in the country has been consistently high between 8 per cent and 9 per cent.

This figure, calculated by dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases, is the highest in Asia.

Read More: CNA

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