Indonesia’s frontline hospital defends coronavirus policies, Latest World News - The New Paper

Indonesia’s frontline hospital defends coronavirus policies

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JAKARTA:  Indonesia has the resources to cope with a coronavirus outbreak, the director of its leading infectious diseases hospital said, defending detection procedures in the South-east Asian nation of more than 260 million, where no cases have been reported.

The world's fourth most populous nation has tested only 141 suspected cases, sparking concern among some medical professionals of a lack of vigilance and a risk of undetected cases.

Malaysia has reportedly run about 1,000 tests and Britain more than 10,000.

"We can't doubt our skills and the facts we gather," said Mr Muhammad Syahril, director of the Sulianti Saroso hospital on Friday in Jakarta, when asked why Indonesia had detected no cases. "If we don't have cases, we don't have cases. Why would we cover it up?"

The virus has infected nearly 87,000 people globally and killed almost 3,000, the majority in China, spreading to more than 60 countries.

Sulianti Saroso is Indonesia's main hospital for handling suspected virus cases.


Indonesia's efforts include screening the temperatures of arrivals at airports and advising that any who later become unwell should contact health authorities.

The hospital offers 11 isolation rooms for patients with symptoms such as pneumonia, Mr Syahril said, adding that three people were being treated, while 21 were in isolation before testing negative.

The hospital was ready to tackle any outbreak, armed with experience gained in handling diseases such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome which broke out in 2003, he said.

A Health Ministry official earlier told Reuters that some hospitals had smaller capacity to handle virus cases.

But even in Jakarta, not all best practices appear to be followed, and a recent visit to another hospital revealed some nurses without masks.

Fuelling concern about Indonesia's vulnerability, four infections were confirmed in travellers who had spent time there, including a Japanese national living in Malaysia and one returning to New Zealand from Iran via Bali.Indonesia has barred entry to visitors who have been in China for 14 days and stopped some flights. - REUTERS