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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 fast response team calls on dentists, ENTs to stop operating amid pandemic

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 6, 2020   /   07:27 pm
COVID-19 fast response team calls on dentists, ENTs to stop operating amid pandemic Dentists check the teeth of a patient at Trisakti University in Jakarta. (kompas.com/File)

The government’s COVID-19 fast response team has asked the Health Ministry to call on dentists and otolaryngologists to close their practices temporarily in order to avoid being infected by the virus.

Team leader and National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) head Doni Monardo said that the appeal was made due to the growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among medical workers and doctors.

"More than 20 of our doctors have died [from COVID-19]. Some of them were apparently not on the frontlines. Some of them were dentists and ENTs,” Doni said Monday in a virtual meeting with the House of Representatives Commission VIII overseeing health issues.

He said the team had asked the Health Ministry to issue a circular instructing dentists and otolaryngologists to close their practices for the time being. 

“If they do practice, it should only be for patients who are seriously [ill],” he said

Doni added that all doctors, both at COVID-19 referral hospitals and non-referral hospitals, should wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves and hazmat suits.

He further said the government was confident about the availability of PPE for medical workers, given that the domestic textile and garment industry could produce PPE using local raw materials that had been certified by the World Health Organization.

"So far, we noted 570,000 pieces of PPE and distributed 390,000 to some regions, plus 105,000 this afternoon," he explained.

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) announced on Monday that at least 24 doctors across Indonesia had died in the fight against COVID-19, six of whom were dentists.