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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 spreads among Indonesian government officials

  • Ivany Atina Arbi
    Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 25, 2020   /   12:49 pm
COVID-19 spreads among Indonesian government officials State Secretary Pratikno announces that Transportation Minister Budi Karya has tested positive for COVID-19 on March 14. (Antara/Muhammad Adimaja)

At least five high-ranking central and regional government officials have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, two others who had yet to be tested died on Monday after reportedly showing symptoms of the disease: the Industry Ministry's metal, machinery, transportation equipment and electronic industry (ILMATE) director general, Harjanto, and the ministry's expert staff member, Amir Sambodo. 

Harjanto died at Medistra Hospital in Jakarta on Monday at around 9:30 p.m. The 58-year old suffered from shortness of breath prior to the death,  Industry Ministry spokesperson Krisna Sulistyani said Tuesday as reported by kompas.com. 

Amir died the following day at around 8:15 a.m. He was 60.

The State Palace announced on March 14 that Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi had tested positive for COVID-19. He was the first Indonesian official to be diagnosed with the contagious respiratory disease.

Budi, who has long struggled with asthma, was directly involved in the evacuation process of 238 Indonesians from the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, as well as 257 Indonesians from the virus-stricken World Dream and Diamond Princess cruise ships.

The minister's health is reportedly improving as he undergoes medical treatment at the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital (RSPAD) in Jakarta. 

"He's getting better every day," Transportation Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawati said recently, confirming that Budi was in stable condition.

Before being hospitalized, Budi attended a cabinet meeting led by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on March 11. 

After the announcement that Budi had tested positive, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his Cabinet were also tested for the disease. Jokowi announced earlier this week that he and his wife, First Lady Iriana, had tested negative. The test results of the other ministers have yet to be announced.

Adita announced on Tuesday that another high-ranking official at the Transportation Ministry had also been diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

"The Transportation Ministry's railway director general, Zulfikri, has been tested positive for COVID-19. He's now in good condition and undergoing self-quarantine [at home]."

Zulfikri and other officials at the ministry were given swab tests on March 18.

The director general separately confirmed that he was self-isolating at home. Before taking the test, he had undergone treatment at Eka Hospital in South Tangerang, Banten, from March 9 to 13. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia. 

"I encourage those who had physical contact with me recently [and] show symptoms of COVID-19 to immediately undergo a medical checkup to break the transmission chain," Zulfikri said Tuesday. 

Also on Tuesday, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil announced that Karawang Regent Cellica Nurrachadiana had COVID-19. 

Three top officials from the province have now tested positive. The other two are Bogor Mayor Bima Arya and Bandung Deputy Mayor Yana Mulyana

Read also: Greater Jakarta failing as floodgate to nationwide COVID-19 epidemic

Bima took a swab test on March 17 after returning from a work-related trip to Turkey the previous day. Prior to the trip, he reportedly attended a seminar in Bogor, which has been scrutinized following reports that four participants had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Two have died at Moewardi Regional Hospital in Surakarta, Central Java. 

Yana, meanwhile, attended an event held by the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association in Karawang on March 9-10 prior to showing symptoms, including fever, dry cough and shortness of breath.

West Java was among the worst-hit areas in Indonesia. It reported 60 confirmed cases on Tuesday, with 10 deaths. Jakarta topped the list with 424 positive cases and 31 deaths, followed by Banten with 65 cases and 4 deaths

As of Tuesday, Indonesia has reported 686 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 55 deaths. 


If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link: [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak