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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 patient rejected, waited for days for testing in Jakarta

  • Yuliasri Perdani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, March 13, 2020   /   06:48 pm
COVID-19 patient rejected, waited for days for testing in Jakarta Member of presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) check on a visitor's body temperature using a thermal Gun at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, on March 3, 2020. spread of the corona virus. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

The family of a COVID-19 patient in Jakarta has said the patient was initially rejected by a hospital and underwent a sluggish screening process before testing positive for the virus.  

The patient’s son said that the slow process and poor response from the Jakarta Health Agency and hospitals had left him frustrated.

The son said that the father had a high fever for about two weeks, leading the family to suspect him of having COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus.

The father then went to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Persahabatan Hospital in East Jakarta to get tested.

“He waited for three hours only to be rejected. The hospital said that my father did not need to get tested yet and mentioned some other reasons,” the son told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The son later called a hotline managed by the Jakarta Health Agency to seek help. The hotline operator promised to contact him in a short time through the Whatsapp messaging app.

The hotline sent a brief message, asking the father to get checked at the Matraman Regional Hospital in East Jakarta.

“I told them that my father showed strong symptoms and was previously rejected by a hospital that had been appointed as a COVID-19 referral center,” the son said.

“I lashed out at them and threatened to make their poor response viral. They eventually agreed to an ambulance. We waited for almost three hours for the ambulance to arrive.”

The ambulance took his father to the Persahabatan Hospital. After taking a blood sample, the hospital discharged his father and asked him to self-quarantine while waiting for the results.  

A day later, a health officer came to the father’s home to take a swab sample.

“Two days after that, they informed us that my father had tested positive for the coronavirus, and they took him to be treated at a hospital,” the son, who is now under self-quarantine, said.

There is no clear evidence about how the father was infected but the son suspected the virus had been transmitted by a relative, who is now being treated for severe pneumonia at a hospital.

“While my father was waiting for the test results, I suggested the man’s family get themselves tested. They turned down the suggestion, fearing that if the results turned out to be positive, they would have to leave their work and get treated in an isolation ward for 14 days.”