The Jakarta Post
The Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry is working on a plan to collaborate with business players in the hotel industry to help curb the spread of COVID-29
The partnership would have hotel chains across Indonesia provide rooms for medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients, Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said at an online press conference on Monday.
“Medical workers will have a proper place to rest somewhere close to their hospital.”
Wishnutama added that he had discussed the plan with the representatives of several hotels and the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).
The ministry is also in talks with transportation providers for another possible collaboration that would transport medical workers to and from hotels and hospitals.
Wishnutama called on businesses operating in tourism and the creative economy to actively participate in Indonesia’s fight against COVID-19, including by postponing events that involve mass gatherings during the ongoing emergency period.
Tourism and the creative economy have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. According to the Indonesia Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), the country’s overall occupancy rate has fallen below the low season average of 50 to 60 percent to 30 to 40 percent since the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China in late December.
The occupancy rate in Bali has dropped to 20 percent, especially in areas visited by solo travelers such as Kuta, Sanur, Legian, Ubud and Jimbaran.
The drop in tourist visits has also affected workers at the grassroots level who rely on tourism for their daily income, such as tour guides, tour drivers and daily hotel staff.
The events industry has also taken a significant hit, with projected financial losses incurred as a result of massive cancellations at postponements amounting to between Rp 898.2 billion and Rp 2.65 trillion, according to the Indonesia Event Industry Council (Ivendo).
Some 1,200 companies are engaged in the event-organizing business.
Meanwhile, the State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Ministry plans to transform existing buildings into hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients, like what was done with the Wisma Atlet Kemayoran athletes village in Jakarta
"What we did in Jakarta is going to be duplicated in some other provinces," Arya Sinulingga, an aide to SOE Minister Erick Thohir, said on Tuesday.
He added that among the regions were Bandung in West Java, Semarang in Central Java and Surabaya in East Java.
The ministry also plans to cooperate with the Religious Affairs Ministry to transform haj dormitories into COVID-19 hospitals, he said.
The SOE Ministry, with the help of the Public Works and Housing Ministry, converted four apartment towers at Wisma Atlet Kemayoran into a hospital to meet the potentially increasing demand for isolation and treatment wards in the coming days.
The facility, previously used to house athletes during the 2018 Asian Games, will be able to accommodate up to 22,000 COVID-19 patients.
Scientists have warned that Indonesia could have tens of thousands of cases by April if authorities fail to take drastic measures to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus. Based on their calculations, Indonesia could be grappling with up to 71,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of April.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia tripled within a week, jumping from 172 positive diagnoses on March 17 to 686 on Tuesday. The number of deaths stood at 55, with the disease spreading to at least 22 of the country's 34 provinces.