Jakarta. The Indonesian Military, or TNI, reported on Wednesday that 55 personnel and their families have tested positive for coronavirus, 15 of them died from the infectious illness.
"According to data from the TNI Headquarters, there are 55 confirmed case, 190 patients under observation, 873 persons under surveillance, 54 recoveries and 15 fatalities,” TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said in a teleconference with the House of Representatives’ defense commission.
Among the patients are personnel who hold civilian duties at their units.
Hadi said rapid testing has been carried out among soldiers, retired soldiers and their families who might have had contacts with confirmed cases, but not all 450,000 active soldiers have taken the tests due to inadequate kits.
"We give priority to troops assigned for special duties related to the Covid-19 pandemic," Hadi said.
Hadi said the TNI has requested a budget of Rp 3.2 trillion ($205 million) to renovate military hospitals and procure medical supplies for confirmed coronavirus patients, as it involves deeper in the government’s mitigation measures during the outbreak.
Part of the budget will also be used for troop deployment in Covid-19 related operations, he said.
“An amount of Rp 1.46 trillion from the budget will be used for 150-day troop deployment, including 90 days for contingency operation and 60 days for rehabilitation and reconstruction,” he said.
“The remaining Rp 1.81 trillion will be spent on upgrading 109 military hospitals and medical supplies procurement. We have proposed the budget to the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry,” Hadi said.
The House commission showed no objection to the proposed budget, but said they need further meetings with related ministries.
“The Commission I supports the TNI’s additional budget to accelerate Covid-19 mitigations. Therefore, we will arrange another meeting with the defense minister, the finance minister, the TNI commander, and all the chiefs of staff,” Meutya Hafid, who chairs the commission, said in the hearing.
Hadi said the fresh funding will allow the military hospitals to add 1,077 beds in the observation rooms, 560 beds in the high care unit and 250 beds in the intensive care unit.
Parts of the upgrading projects are improvements in isolations rooms and the use of high-tech air-conditioning system that will prevent virus transmissions through the air.
Hadi said the TNI has been actively taking part in the battle against the outbreak by deploying its doctors to the makeshift Covid-19 hospitals at the athletes’ village in Central Jakarta and on Galang Island in Riau Islands province. Medical workers from the TNI are also deployed to border areas, he said.
Indonesian Army Chief of Staff General Andika Perkasa said the Gatot Soebroto Army Hospital in Jakarta urgently needs personal protective equipment for its doctors and nurses and also reagents used in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic tests.
“Our PPE stockpile will be running out within four or five days. We also need more reagents to conduct the PCR tests, otherwise our laboratory will lose the testing ability and we will have to rely on the Health Ministry's laboratory,” Andika said.
Similar issues are facing Naval and Air Force hospitals.
“A lack of PCR diagnostic testing kits and isolation rooms are our main problems,” Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Siwi Sukma Adji said.
Meanhwile, Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Yuyu Sutisna said only three out of 21 Air Force hospitals have met requirements to treat Covid-19 patients.
“And only one of the three hospitals has negative pressure rooms for quarantine. We also need more rapid testing kits and personal protective equipment,” Yuyu said.