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Jakarta Post

Indonesia reports 81 new COVID-19 cases, death toll rises to 38

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, March 21, 2020   /   07:35 pm
Indonesia reports 81 new COVID-19 cases, death toll rises to 38 Construction workers revamp Pertamina Jaya Hospital in Jakarta on March 21. The government designated the hospital a referral center specializing in treating COVID-19 patients. (Antara/Rivan Awal Lingga)

Indonesian health authorities have recorded another spike in the number of COVID-19-positive cases in the country, as the government announces 81 new ones on Saturday, with a total of 450 reported nationwide.

Health Ministry Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto said the number of fatalities caused by the disease had also increased to 38, compared to 32 on the previous day. Meanwhile, 20 people had recovered from the disease so far.

Yurianto, also the government’s spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters, said Jakarta still recorded the highest increase of positive cases with 44, with the number of positive cases in the capital city becoming 267. Authorities reported 23 people had died of the disease in Jakarta.

Other regions recording spikes in the number of positive cases were West and East Java with 41 and 11 new ones, respectively.

“We have given all this data to the heads of provincial health agencies, who forwarded the data to the hospitals where these patients are being treated,” Yurianto said during a broadcasted press briefing on Saturday.

“The data has also been used by health offices in every district as material for contact tracing.”

He added that the contact tracing efforts would be followed by rapid testing, which could show results in minutes. The tests, however, were only used for preliminary detection of whether a person had been infected by the coronavirus.

The government, Yurianto said, had been preparing to import chloroquine drugs. Yurianto claimed the medication was potent against COVID-19, although no medicine has been clinically proven to cure the disease. However, medical personnel in several countries have been using the drugs to treat the disease’s symptoms in patients.

“Chloroquine is used to treat [the disease’s symptoms], not prevent it; therefore, people should not hoard chloroquine,” the spokesperson said.

He went on to say that the government had prepared more than 12 million surgical masks and 81,000 N95 masks for hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. “Hospitals needing such equipment should make a formal request to the local health agency.”

Yurianto urged people to stay at home and maintain social distancing from others to prevent possible virus transmission. (mfp)