JAKARTA, July 29 — Indonesia’s regional Covid-19 deaths vastly outnumber its national tally, an independent organisation which collects data on the Southeast Asian country’s coronavirus outbreak said in a statement today.

Indonesia is Asia’s Covid-19 epicentre and has over the last week reported over 1,500 deaths a day, including a record 2,069 deaths on Tuesday. That tally does not include all regional deaths, however, meaning the true toll could be much higher, according to the Lapor Covid-19 data monitoring group.

“This gives a false sense of security... because the data hides thousands of real deaths,” Lapor Covid-19 co-founder Irma Hidayana said in a statement.

An official at the health ministry’s data department did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment. The ministry collects Covid-19 data from regional hospitals and agencies which report via a centralised system.

Senior health ministry official Siti Nadia Tarmizi told BBC Indonesia yesterday that some regions have not reported all Covid-19 deaths to that system.

Lapor Covid-19 said some provinces, including West and Central Java, have reported significantly higher death tolls on their websites.

The total tally reported online by provincial authorities in West Java was almost double the amount recorded for the province nationally, the monitor said. In Central Java, locally published tallies showed 10,000 more deaths than centralised data, it added. The data was analysed on July 23, the group said.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said the data on his province’s website was accurate but that the discrepancies “need to be further verified”. In a statement, West Java’s ruling body said the Lapor Covid-19 data was misleading.

Transparency concerns have consistently dogged Indonesia’s Covid-19 response. The country of 270 million has recorded 3.33 million infections but epidemiologists say the true scale of the spread has been obscured by inadequate testing and contact tracing. — Reuters