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Jakarta Post

‘COVID-19 hero’: 80-year-old doctor in spotlight for fighting coronavirus on front line

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 18, 2020   /   10:33 pm
‘COVID-19 hero’: 80-year-old doctor in spotlight for fighting coronavirus on front line An image circulating on social media shows a group of medical workers delivering a message that says, "We stay at work for you. You stay at home for us". (Handout/HO)

With social media plagued with grim stories about COVID-19, news of 80-year-old lung specialist Handoko Gunawan’s dedication to handling COVID-19 patients has been warmly welcomed by many Indonesian netizens.

Internet users were made aware of the doctor’s actions when author Noviana Kusumawardhani posted a story about him on her Facebook page, saying that he was working until 3 a.m. and tending to COVID-19-positive patients at Graha Kedoya Hospital in West Jakarta.

“His kids have urged him not to jump into [the fight against the virus] due to his old age. However, he said that it would be OK if he died,” Noviana wrote on her Facebook page on Tuesday, using the hashtag #PahlawanCOVID19 (COVID-19Hero). The post also displayed a photo of Handoko wearing a hazmat suit.

The post garnered more than 11,000 likes as of Wednesday evening and was reshared more than 7,200 times.

Facebook users filled the post’s comments section with well-wishes. User Gusti Ngurah Putra wrote: “His service for humanity is extraordinary, hopefully he’ll stay healthy.”

Words of encouragement also came from celebrity lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea on his Instagram account @hotmanparisofficial: “People who engage in acts of kindness for others will be given a calm heart and sleep well.”

Handoko, however, was reported to be ill on Wednesday, as tweeted by actress Kirana Larasati on her Twitter account @_kiranalara.

She tweeted Handoko’s picture and said that the doctor was admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit, though The Jakarta Post could neither confirm nor deny that he was admitted, with a relative of his only saying that he was in good condition.

“Let’s pray even stronger,” Kirana tweeted.

The tweet was retweeted more than 15,000 times and liked more than 30,000 times. Some users replied to Kirana’s tweet with prayers for the doctor.

“Get well soon doctor, so you can see Indonesia without the corona[virus] later,” Twitter user @oktoberries wrote. (mfp)