An ambulance carrying a Covid-19 patient stops for document verification at the makeshift Covid Hospital in Central Jakarta. (Beritasatu Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)

Gov’t Reiterates Call for Increased Covid Patient Beds as Cases Hit 900,000


JANUARY 18, 2021

Jakarta. The Indonesian government repeated the call for all hospitals across the country to increase quota for Covid-19 patients after the total number of cases surpassed the 900,000 mark on Sunday.

The Health Ministry issued a circular last week appealing for hospital directors and owners to allocate up to 40 percent of beds for patients with coronavirus.

“We don’t ask them to build new buildings or emergency wards or procure new beds. What we want is for them to convert between 30 percent and 40 percent of their beds into Covid beds,” Abdul Kadir, the ministry’s director general for health services, said in Jakarta.

He said Covid bed quota in many hospitals stood at just 10 percent, adding that the bed occupancy rate in big cities has reached 90 percent or more.

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Indonesia recorded 11,287 cases on Sunday to take the country’s total to 907,929, including 25,987 deaths.

The total number of active cases has reached a new high of 145,482.

Siti Nadia Tramidzi, the director of infectious disease control and preventing, said 15 percent of active cases require hospitalization and 5 percent need ICU treatment.

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Also on Sunday, the makeshift Covid-19 hospital in Central Jakarta reported a record number of patients. The country’s biggest quarantine facility housed 4,854 patients or 81 percent of the expanded capacity.

Since the facility was set up last March, it has treated nearly 49,000 Covid patients.

Coronavirus cases have been spiraling beyond control in the last two months and worsened in the early days of the year with major hotspots reporting a new level in daily numbers.

The country has recorded 164,731 cases and 3,849 deaths in the first 17 days of the year.

Worst-Hit Provinces
The seven-day average in Jakarta surpassed 3,000 for the first time since the outbreak began, while that of Central Java topped 1,500. West Java meanwhile has been averaging more than 2,000 cases in the past week.

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Jakarta, home to 25 percent of the overall cases nationwide, has recorded a total of 227,365 cases, more than the figures from West and Central Java combined. 

The capital city has added more than 43,600 cases since Jan. 1, in comparison to the total of 46,800 cases it recorded in the whole month of December.

West Java has added the pace in new infections with 29,000 cases in the 17-day period, bringing its total number of cases to 112,587. The province has recorded four-digit daily numbers for the 20th day in a row.

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The virus is spreading at the fastest speed in Central Java, the last province to average more than 1,000 cases in a day. It has recorded a total of 102,904 cases.

East Java comes next with a total of 99,377 cases, averaging 896 since the beginning of the month.

The seven-day average in the country’s four most populous provinces is currently in all-time high. They make up 60 percent of the national tally.

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Outside Java, South Sulawesi is the worst-affected province with a total 41,036 cases. Newly cases have been growing rapidly since late November, when its total was less than a half of its current figures.

South Sulawesi has beaten its own record for the highest daily number of coronavirus cases seven times this month, including a new high of 674 on Sunday.

East Kalimantan has added more than 6,500 cases this year, bringing its total number of cases to 33,612.

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Health officials have warned that year-end holiday and travelling could trigger a sudden spike in new cases and the warning was evident in the resort island of Bali, where more than 200 cases were recorded every day since January 1.

Bali has recorded a total of 21,292 cases since the outbreak started.

A faster growth in newly cases is also reported in other hotspots like Yogyakarta, Banten and North Sulawesi.

Death Toll
The average of daily death toll stands at 226 month to date, the deadliest period yet in the Indonesian outbreak.

By comparison, an average of 168 people died of coronavirus every day in December, which remains the deadliest month with a total of 5,193 Covid deaths.

East Java has the highest death toll with a total of 6,890 coronavirus-related deaths, followed by Central Java (4,485), Jakarta (3,738), West Java (1,347), East Kalimantan (837) and North Sumatra (711).

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