Indonesia turns Asian Games Athlete’s Village into hospital, Latest World News - The New Paper

Indonesia turns Asian Games Athlete’s Village into hospital

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Athlete's Village turned into emergency hospital as other nations in the region see spike in cases

JAKARTA: Three doctors treating coronavirus patients in Indonesia have died, taking the country's death toll to 48 in the current outbreak.

Indonesia also reported 64 new cases, bringing its total to 514.

Most cases are in Jakarta, where businesses have been ordered to close for two weeks.

Indonesia's rate of testing has been far below that of neighbours, leading to suspicions it has far more cases than reported.

As of Friday, Indonesia had tested 1,898 people or around seven tests per one million people.

Singapore said it had carried out tests on 25,000 people by Friday - about 4,500 tests per million people.

With widespread anticipation of a surge in cases, Indonesia has turned its Athlete's Village, built for the 2018 Asian Games, into an emergency hospital with a capacity to hold more than 4,000 patients.

Four out of 10 towers in the Athlete's Village located in Jakarta have been converted into a medical facility that would house more than 7,000 people, including a coronavirus task force, medical staff and up to 4,208 patients.

"The ministry of state-owned enterprises will provide supplies for the emergency hospital to handle Covid-19, be it healthcare equipment, medicine, personal protection gear and masks," Minister of State-owned Enterprises Erick Thohir said in a statement.

Indonesia has the highest coronavirus death toll in South-east Asia.

In Thailand, confirmed cases rocketed to nearly 600, the kingdom announced yesterday, as fears of a full-blown crisis take hold in a country largely spared until now.

Thailand's health ministry announced the spike was mainly in the capital, but warned residents of Bangkok not to leave and risk spreading the virus around the country.

"We would like you to stay home. Do not travel upcountry," said health ministry official Taweesin Visanuyothin.

Bangkok, where a boxing stadium and night club are among the likely transmission sites, has now imposed tough restrictions.

Virtually all public spaces have been shuttered, from shopping malls and beauty parlours to golf courses and swimming pools.

Residents packed out supermarkets over the weekend to stockpile food, fearing a full lockdown.

Transport links are also slowly being severed.

Yet elsewhere in the tropical tourist destination, life was mostly unaffected, with sun-seekers thronging beaches in Pattaya and Phuket.

One doctor at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn hospital warned tougher measures were needed - even calling for three weeks of martial law to force people to self-isolate.

The nation is "on the verge of a crisis" and heading for the Italian model, a doctor told AFP, adding hospitals are already straining under the pressure.

In the Philippines, the health ministry yesterday reported 73 new cases, bringing the total to 380.

It also announced six more deaths, bringing total fatalities to 25.

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire told DZBB radio that the increase in the number of confirmed cases could be "artificial" as the government is only now catching up on a backlog of tests. - AFP, REUTERS