Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Please, Stay at Home: Indonesia Turns to Telemedicine as New Cases Rise to 3rd Highest in the World

Jakarta Globe
July 5, 2021 | 2:04 pm
A COVID-19 patient is seen inside a makeshift ICU at Cengkareng Hospital in West Jakarta on June 24, 2021. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A COVID-19 patient is seen inside a makeshift ICU at Cengkareng Hospital in West Jakarta on June 24, 2021. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Jakarta. The government has decided to provide free telemedicine services to monitor Covid-19 patients who are self-isolating at home to ease the burden at overloaded hospitals across the country. 

Eleven private-run telemedicine platforms, including Alodokter, GetWell, Good Doctor, GrabHealth, Halodoc, KlikDokter, KlinikGo, Link Sehat, Milvik Doctor, ProSehat, SehatQ, and YesDok, will provide doctor consultation services and drug delivery services, all paid for by the Ministry of Health. 

"All of these services were provided by our friends at the telemedicine start-ups and the Ministry of Health," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Monday.

Covid-19 patients with oxygen saturation levels above 95 percent, having no shortness of breath and no comorbidities, were the ideal recipients of the telemedicine services. Therefore, they do not need to go to the hospitals to see doctors and get treatments, further stressing the overloaded facilities. 


Indonesia reported more than 27,000 new cases on Sunday, the highest in the world after India and Brazil, according to data compiled by the statistics website Worldometer. The most populous country in Southeast Asia also saw 555 people died from the disease, setting a new daily fatality record. 

The Southeast Asian country's reproduction rate (R) also remained above 1, reflecting that the number of cases would continue to increase, in contrast to Brazil to India that saw a decline in new cases number. R is an epidemiological parameter that shows how many people will get infected by an infectious patient.  

Covid-19 New Cases, Deaths and Reproduction Rates on Sunday

Country New cases New deaths R
India 40,387 743 0.78
Brazil 27,783 776 0.89
Indonesia 27,233 555 1.34
Colombia 26,265 582 0.97
Russia 25,142 663 1.19
UK 24,248 15 1.50
South Africa 16,585 333 1.30
Iran 13,781 165 1.17
Argentina 9,000 310 0.94
Bangladesh 8,661 153 1.39

Sources: Worldometer, Our World in Data

Today, Indonesia tended 295,228 active Covid-19 cases, more than any point in time since the pandemic began. The number of active cases has doubled from two weeks ago, resulting in more patients admitted to hospitals.

Many Jakarta and West Java hospitals reported that they have overloaded with patients, who often need to wait for hours at makeshift tents to get treatments.

According to data collected by the Globe from the Ministry of Health's hospital bed occupancy real-time report, Jakarta's Covid-19 hospitals only have 10 percent of their beds available. The situations were direr in neighboring provinces of Banten and West Java, which reported bed occupancy ratios of 93 percent and 92 percent, respectively.  

Hospitals also reported their oxygen supply was quickly depleted, making it harder for them to treat them. Local media reported that dr. Sardjito Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Yogyakarta, run out of oxygen at one time over the weekend, leading to the deaths of at least 33 patients being treated there.  

Stay at Home

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has pleaded for Indonesians to remain at home during the strict social activity restrictions period to curb the spread of Covid-19 disease and ease health workers' burden who fight at the forefront of the country's collapsing healthcare system. 

"There is no better place right now than home and away from the crowds. In addition to protecting families and the environment, it also helps health workers who are struggling to deal with Covid-19 patients," the president said in his official Twitter account. 

"In unity, we will go through this difficult time together," Jokowi said.

Minister Budi said the government continues to increase the capacity to handle Covid-19 patients by converting more hospitals into ones dedicated to treating Covid-19 patients. The ministry would also bring in health workers from areas where the transmission of Covid-19 was still low, like Sumatra and Kalimantan, to treat patients in epicenter regions in Java. 

"So don't worry, we will continue to add capacity," Budi said. 

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