254,000 coronavirus patients in Indonesia's capital Jakarta

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Indonesia's capital Jakarta continues to be hardest hit city, confirming more than 254,000 coronavirus patients as of Tuesday, including 4,077 deaths.

Only 8.5 percent of a total 8,066 hospital beds in the city were left for new patients as of Tuesday, while beds with ventilators were filled.

Other provinces across the country’s most densely populated island of Java, such as West Java, East Java and Yogyakarta, have also been seeing high bed occupancy rates, up to 95 percent, in the past few weeks. Even in Jakarta’s neighboring province of Banten, the occupancy rates reached 100 percent last week.

Health Ministry data showed hospital capacity nationwide was at about 70 percent.

Abdul Kadir, the director general of health services at the ministry, called the situation “dire.”

The government has issued a circular urging private hospital owners across the country to allocate up to 40 percent of beds for coronavirus patients, Kadir said.

Health experts have warned that adding hospital beds is merely a quick fix that will eventually falter if the number of daily cases continues to rise.

Health policy expert Masdalina Pane from the Indonesian Epidemiologists Association said the government should instead amplify testing and tracing efforts as well as reinforcing health protocols and ensuring public compliance.

She said high positivity rates are a sign of insufficient testing and wide transmission of the virus, and efforts to force asymptomatic people to quarantine at home would help slow the spread of the virus.

The number of coronavirus-related cases and deaths has been rising dramatically since early December, prompting seven regional governments on the islands of Java and Bali to reimpose restrictions on public activity.

The virus has killed more than 11,000 people in Indonesia since December 1, representing 40 percent of the total number of casualties since the outbreak started in early March.-AP