The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta administration has established a fast-response team to handle the fast-spreading and fatal respiratory coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the wake of two confirmed cases of Indonesians infected with the virus.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said that he established the team over concerns about the spread as Jakarta serves as both capital city and center of economic activities.
"[Jakarta] has a great deal of international interaction. Therefore, we started to discuss the concerns of a COVID-19 spread in Indonesia and especially in Jakarta in mid-January," he said in a press conference at City Hall on Monday.
The team, headquartered at the Jakarta Health Agency office on Jl. Kesehatan No. 10 in Gambir in Central Jakarta, consists of the Jakarta Health Agency head, the Jakarta Communications and Information Agency head, the Jakarta National and Political Unity Office, the Jakarta Education Agency head, the Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency head and the Jakarta Economic Bureau chief.
As of Monday, the administration was monitoring 21 people in both homes and hospitals, and supervising 39 people at hospitals for showing the symptoms and having traveled to countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Previously, it monitored 115 people but they were declared to be free from the disease on Monday.
"We are vigilant and doing our best. The Jakarta administration will keep you updated in a transparent manner," Anies added.
"The Jakarta Health Agency has conducted an epidemiological investigation to see the interaction pattern of all the monitored people, where they have been and when."
The COVID-19 outbreak, originating in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province in China, has hit more than 50 countries, and neighboring countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam have reported confirmed cases.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday Indonesia’s first confirmed case with two Indonesians, a mother and daughter, testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The two women are being treated at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI) in North Jakarta.
The women, a 64-year-old and her 31-year-old daughter who both live in Depok in West Java, reportedly contracted the virus from a Japanese citizen who was tested positive in Malaysia on Feb. 27, after visiting Indonesia in early February.
Anies recommended the public stay on alert and contact the call center at 112 or 119 if they encounter someone showing the symptoms. He also issued a gubernatorial decree on Friday urging officials including mayors, agency heads, district and subdistrict heads to raise public awareness about the risk of the disease and its prevention.
"We are coordinating with the Health Ministry and other related agencies in conducting the monitoring and supervision," Jakarta Health Agency head Widyastuti said in a statement released on Friday.
The central government recently decided to use Sebaru Kecil Island, a 16.5-hectare, uninhabited islet in the Thousand Islands regency, as a center to observe 188 evacuees from the World Dream cruise ship for 14 days from last Friday. They actually had tested negative for COVID-19 during a quarantine in Hong Kong but authorities decided to run tests and observe them further as part of precautionary measures.
Epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia (UI) Tri Yunis Miko Wahyono, said the risk of COVID-19 spreading to Jakarta was high as there were direct international flights to the capital. Therefore, the gubernatorial decree was necessary to enhance Jakarta's "epidemic preparedness."
"Indonesia's risk [of the spread of the disease] is huge given the number of supervised and monitored cases in the country,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
To assess the risk, he suggested the administration analyze the number of people entering and leaving the city between January and February. (dfr)