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Jakarta Post

Jakarta buries 639 bodies according to COVID-19 protocols

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 7, 2020   /   05:21 pm
Jakarta buries 639 bodies according to COVID-19 protocols Jakarta Park and Forestry Agency officials bury deceased COVID-19 patients at the Tegal Alur Public Cemetery in West Jakarta on Tuesday. The Jakarta administration said it had buried more than 600 people using the COVID-19 burial protocol, as the deceased were either confirmed or possible COVID-19 patients. (JP/Donny Fernando)

The Jakarta administration has revealed it has buried more than 600 people according to the protocols for burial of people either suspected of or confirmed as having been infected with COVID-19.

Jakarta Parks and Forestry Agency head Suzi Marsitawati said 639 people had been buried following the special protocols as of Monday noon, with their bodies wrapped in plastic, put inside coffins wrapped in another layer of plastic and interred less than four hours after death.

The agency, however, did not have data on which of the 639 people were confirmed COVID-19 cases or only suspected of having the disease.

“Our job is to transport and bury the bodies. We aren’t told by the hospitals whether a body is a COVID-19 patient or simply someone put under general monitoring or surveillance. All we know is those bodies need to undergo special protocols,” Suzy said during a press briefing on Monday.

Read also: 'Extremely disturbing': Jump in Jakarta funerals raises fears of unreported COVID-19 deaths

Jakarta COVID-19 task force head Catur Laswanto said most of the cases were under surveillance or general monitoring and had died before their test results came back.

“We have to adhere to the protocols as if they were [confirmed] COVID-19 cases, even though their status is not yet confirmed for the disease,” he said.

Workers preparing the funeral must also use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks and protective coveralls. “These workers also have a high risk of COVID-19 infection,” Catur said.

Most of the PPE for mortuary workers has been donated by the Jakarta branch of the National Zakat Board of Indonesia (Baznas) through the city parks and forestry agency.

The administration is burying people suspected of or confirmed as having COVID-19 in Pondok Rangon cemetery in East Jakarta as well as Tegal Alur cemetery in West Jakarta.

As of Tuesday, the capital city recorded 106 deaths as a result of COVID-19 of the total of 221 deaths recorded nationwide. Jakarta, the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country, has also confirmed 1,369 cases out of 2,738 total cases across the country.

Jakarta has also seen a jump in funerals at the city whereby 4,377 people were buried in March, much higher than any month since 2010 with an average of 2,500. The data suggests that deaths from COVID-19 in the capital may be much higher than reported.