Indonesia's President has admitted that he deliberately held back correct information about the spread of coronavirus to prevent the public from panicking.
This confession came from Joko Widodo when one of his cabinet members, the transport minister was found positive of coronavirus, reports The Telegraph.
According to the Jakarta Post, "We did not deliver certain information to the public because we did not want to stir panic. We have worked hard to overcome this since the novel coronavirus outbreak can happen regardless of the country border," the president said.
The president urged the public to remain vigilant, pledging to inform people whenever a new cluster appeared. Most confirmed cases have emerged in the capital, Jakarta, but infections have also been reported in cities in western and central Java, Manado, Pontianak and the holiday island of Bali.
The authorities are suggesting corporations to let their employees work from home in several provinces; meanwhile some cities have closed down educational institutions like capital Jakarta.
"The most important thing right now is social distancing. That's why I said that in this condition we should work from home, learn at home and pray at home, " said Mr Widodo.
But the news comes as no surprise to the local diplomats or scientific experts who had warned about the silent spread of the disease. In February, The US embassy in Jakarta has warned the government to calculate the case numbers carefully.
A report of the University of Southampton based on the smartphone and flight data of travelers from Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the initial epicentre of the virus, also revealed that it was statistically implausible for Indonesia to have no cases.