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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 news is not all bad. Read this to stay positive

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, April 12, 2020   /   07:57 am
COVID-19 news is not all bad. Read this to stay positive Prisoners in Tangerang, Banten, sew gowns and aprons in April as personal protective equipment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Courtesy of Law and Human Right Ministry Directorate General of Corrections/-)

The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Indonesia continues to climb, while thousands of Jakartans leaving for their hometowns may fuel the epidemic. The grim state of affairs, combined with reports on some politicians aiming to take advantage of the crisis to deliberate controversial bills, makes it hard to put a little faith in the country’s war against the virus.

The Jakarta Post has compiled some good news related to COVID-19 to help alleviate an overwhelming situation.

Almost 300 COVID-19 patients have recovered, including a 4-month-old baby

A 4-month-old infant who was infected with COVID-19 in Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, has recovered from the disease. After two weeks of intensive treatment at the Wates Hospital, the baby tested negative for the coronavirus.

“Thank God the test result came back negative. The baby was the only COVID-19 patient [in Kulon Progo],” Wates Hospital chair Lies Indriyati said on April 5.

Another 286 previously infected people have been cleared of COVID-19 as of Saturday. East Java reported the highest proportion of recoveries (24 percent) as 64 of 267 patients in the province have recovered.

More donations of protective gear to equip medical workers in battle against COVID-19

China-based app TikTok, which has gained popularity among Indonesian youngsters as a video-sharing platform, has donated Rp 100 billion (US$6.28 million) to the government of Indonesia on Thursday to buy protective gear for medical workers fighting against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, 35 companies have shifted their production or increased their output to produce 18.3 million pieces of protective gear by early May, Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said.

The equipment will include 1.2 million pieces of medical-grade polypropylene-based gear and 17 million pieces of nonmedical-grade gear made of cotton, nylon or polyester.

Companies also look forward to joining in global efforts by exporting the products to other countries if there is excess supply after meeting the country’s needs of 5 to 10 million pieces of protective equipment per month.

Growing number of initiatives, including prisoners, help make protective gear

To combat COVID-19, inmates in 70 prisons across the country are producing protective gear like masks, head covers, face shields, gowns and aprons for inmates and prison workers. Spare gear will be given to health workers or local administrations.

Prisoners are also making healthcare products like hand sanitizer, disinfection booths, intravenous (IV) poles and stretchers.

Several community groups have also launched initiatives to produce protective gear. Spedagi, a social entrepreneurship group in Temanggung regency, Cental Java, has shared tips on making affordable face shields through its Instagram account @spedagimovement.

Social community Popo Danes Architect in Bali then started producing those face shields to distribute them to medical workers at community health centers (Puskesmas).

Solemn religious practices, at home

Hundreds of thousands of Muslims in East Java joined the live-streaming of the Nisfu Syaban mass prayer on Wednesday through their smartphones and televisions. The one-hour prayer was led by 19 clerics of the East Java branch of Muslim organization Nadhlatul Ulama (NU) and Lirboyo Islamic boarding school.

They prayed to God for the COVID-19 outbreak to end soon. The Muslims believe God will answer people’s prayer on the day of Nisfu Syaban, the 15th day of the eighth month on the Islamic calendar.

On Friday, Christians across the country also Good Friday sermons via live-streamed services from the comfort of their homes amid physical distancing measures encouraged by the government.

More tests on the way for clearer picture

Indonesia has purchased 18 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detectors and two RNA automatic extractors from Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche on Wednesday to expedite COVID-19 detection.

The government will distribute the testing equipment to Jakarta, West Java, Banten, Central Java, East Java, Bali, Lampung, South Sumatra, North Sumatra, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Papua.

The country is now expected to be able to test 5,000 to 10,000 samples a day and therefore, around 300,000 samples a month.

As of Saturday, the country has conducted 19,452 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, healthcare app Halodoc and ride-hailing app Gojek, joined by Mitra Keluarga Hospital and Kemayoran Complex Management Center, offers free rapid COVID-19 testing for Jakartans who bear moderate to high risk of having contracted the disease from April 10 to 17.

Unlike the PCR method, the rapid test uses blood samples to detect the presence of an antibody formed when someone has the virus.