TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Almost 70 percent of patients suffering from the novel coronavirus experience few symptoms, which is why many rule out COVID-19 as the cause for their malaise, government spokesperson for COVID-19 Handling, Achmad Yurianto said.
"From the data that we gathered, almost 70 percent of positive cases saw minimum symptoms," Yurianto said at a virtual press conference of the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling in Jakarta on Saturday.
Yurianto said the minimal symptoms included persistent cough and low fever. People usually perceive such symptoms in the conventional sense and do not connect them with COVID-19.
"The minimum symptoms (experienced) can be perceived as not being sick," he noted.
To identify or diagnose someone with positive or negative COVID-19 transmission, a test needs to be carried out, and the standard test recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, said Yurianto.
Those who have had close contact with confirmed cases need to be directly tracked and tested for COVID-19 to identify the source of infection and break the chain of transmission of the virus in the community.
Yurianto further reiterated that the incubation period of COVID-19, until symptoms show in patients, is 14 days.
"They could be infected today and the new symptoms will appear later, on the 14th day, although on average, if we look at the data now, they might appear on the fifth or sixth day," he explained.
If no symptoms emerge after 14 days, then it can be said the patients are not infected or have recovered from COVID-19, he said.
Testing is needed in order to find the sources of infection in the community, so steps can be taken to prevent further transmission of COVID-19, he noted.
In accordance with President Joko Widodo's directives, he continued, COVID-19 testing needs to be carried out on a massive scale, which means, examinations need to be based on tracing those who have had close contact with confirmed cases.
"Everyone suspected to have had close contact with confirmed cases surely needs to be tested,” he said adding, all such contacts need to be traced and then isolated so they do not spread the virus further in the community.