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Jakarta Post

From military to virus outbreak: What sets Terawan apart from predecessors

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, February 27, 2020   /  04:12 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Health Minister Terawan (center) walks at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta after flying in from Natuna Island on Feb. 15. The government, through the Ministry of Health, repatriated 238 Indonesians from China and has declared them healthy after two weeks of observations related to COVID-19 on Natuna Island.(JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto has made headlines in foreign media following his strong reaction to a study by Harvard University researchers that suggested Indonesia might have undetected cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The minister, the first military doctor to be appointed to the post since the beginning of the Reform Era in 1998, described the report as "insulting" and insisted that the government was "not hiding anything" with regard to the absence of any confirmed cases in the country. Even before his appointment as a minister late last year, Terawan often found himself in the media spotlight at home. Debates that emerged in public ranged from his unconventional “brain-cleaning” treatment for stroke patients -- which led to sanctions from the Indonesian Doctors Association's (IDI) ethics board -- to his string of al...