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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 hospital on Galang Island to prioritize treating migrants

  • Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 3, 2020   /   02:37 pm
COVID-19 hospital on Galang Island to prioritize treating migrants President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo (in purple vest), accompanied by Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono (in yellow vest), inspects an emergency hospital for COVID-19 cases on Galang Island in Batam, Riau Islands on April 1, 2020. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

The designated COVID-19 emergency hospital on Galang Island, Riau Islands will be prioritized for migrants returning home, an official has said as its construction is nearing completion.

Indonesian Military Regional Defense Joint Command I (Kogabwilhan I) commander Vice Adm. Yudo Margono said the hospital would prioritize migrants as the country expected an influx of migrants coming home from Malaysia.

Previously, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo raised concerns over an increase in imported COVID-19 cases as migrant workers are expected to return from abroad for Idul Fitri, adding that reports estimated around 3,000 Indonesian migrant workers returning from Malaysia in the past several days.

“The migrants from Malaysia, especially ones who tested positive, would be treated at the hospital,”  Yudo said at a virtual press conference on Friday, adding that around 20,000 personnel had been prepared for the migrants’ repatriation.

Read also: Third Indonesian dies from COVID-19 abroad

If the number of migrant patients is small, Yudo said the emergency hospital would also treat local patients to help local hospitals as the Riau Islands had recorded seven COVID-19 cases and one fatality as of Thursday. 

Yudo said the hospital was about 96 percent done and was on track to open on April 6, after previously being delayed for several days due to building material shipping issues. The construction started on March 11 and is led by State-Owned construction company PT Wijaya Karya (WIKA).

The hospital is being built on a 16-hectare former Vietnam war refugee campsite and comprises three zones.

Zone A will serve as the dormitory for medical workers and the management of the hospital equipped with 158 beds, laundry facilities and sterilization facilities, while zone B will be used as a patient ward with 20 isolation beds and 340 observation beds. The third zone is assigned for the future development of the hospital.

Read also: Residents now approve of construction of COVID-19 hospital in Batam, officials claim

“We have assigned a team of doctors and a new health task force taken from the local military district command,” Yudo said. “We are now looking to recruit personnel from the National Military (TNI), National Police (Polri) and volunteers. We have 77 personnel ready,”.

Yudo said medical and healthcare equipment from the Health Ministry, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) and state-owned enterprises were currently being shipped to the island. 

As of Thursday, Indonesia had recorded 1790 COVID-19 cases with 170 fatalities and 112 recoveries while Malaysia recorded 3,116 cases with 50 fatalities and 767 recoveries. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected more than 1 million and killed some 50,000.