Coronavirus pandemic

Nearly 1,300 test positive for virus at Indonesian military academy

Health workers conducting swab tests on civilians residing in the compounds of the Indonesian Army Officer Candidate School in Bandung, West Java province, on Saturday.
Health workers conducting swab tests on civilians residing in the compounds of the Indonesian Army Officer Candidate School in Bandung, West Java province, on Saturday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANDUNG (Indonesia) • Nearly 1,300 people at a military academy in Indonesia have tested positive for the coronavirus, an official said, as the country struggles to contain the epidemic.

The Indonesian Army Officer Candidate School in the country's most populated province of West Java has been quarantined and 30 people were initially hospitalised with mild symptoms, the army's chief of staff, General Andika Perkasa, said late on Saturday.

Of the 1,280 confirmed infections, 991 were cadets and the rest were staff and their family members, he said.

Most had no symptoms. Seventeen were still in hospital on Saturday.

The outbreak was first detected when two cadets went to a medical facility after complaining of fever and back pain.

Both tested positive for Covid-19, sparking mass swab testing at the academy, which has 2,000 staff and cadets.

It is not clear how the cadets were infected, Gen Perkasa said, but some staff members live outside the military complex.

The governor of West Java apologised for the outbreak and urged residents to restrict their movements in and out of the neighbourhood where the academy is located until it is brought under control.

Indonesia is the hardest hit country in South-east Asia with more than 75,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 3,600 deaths.

The real toll is widely believed to be much higher, however, with experts saying limited testing was understating the true scale of the crisis. The World Health Organisation recently urged Indonesia to do more testing.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2020, with the headline 'Nearly 1,300 test positive for virus at Indonesian military academy'. Print Edition | Subscribe