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Jakarta Post

Van passenger struggling to breathe left on side of road

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, April 27, 2020   /   01:04 pm
Van passenger struggling to breathe left on side of road A police officer directs a bus to the exit gate of Bitung toll road in Banten on Friday. Friday marked the first official day of the mudik (exodus) ban imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19. (Antara/Fauzan)

A 57-year-old woman who was suffering breathing difficulties was left lying on the side of a public road in Purbalingga regency, Central Java, after the driver of the shuttle van she was riding dropped her off.

The passenger, identified only as YT, was returning from Jakarta to her hometown in Sumingkir, Kutasari district, ahead of the Idul Fitri holiday.

En route, she began to experience shortness of breath – a known symptom of COVID-19. She then asked the driver to drop her off on the side of Jl. Raya Kutasari, saying her family would pick her up instead.

YT, who was still struggling to breathe, was then left lying on the side of Jl. Raya Kutasari along with her luggage. None of the locals helped her because of virus fears.

Later, a medical worker clad in a protective suit arrived and rushed the woman to the emergency unit at Siaga Medika Hospital in the neighboring Banyumas regency. They arrived at the hospital at 11:25 a.m.

Kutasari Police Chief Adj. Comr. Agus Amjat Purnomo said the shuttle van driver – a Purbalingga native identified only as KM – was brought in for questioning not long after YT was evacuated.

“We tracked [the driver] down as soon as we received the report. We got his phone number and called him in for questioning,” Agus said as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday.

Read also: COVID-19: 'Mudik' ban catches travelers flat-footed

KM was taking 10 passengers from Greater Jakarta to Purwekerto, Purbalingga and Banjarnegara in Central Java, Agus said.

“The driver did not know that the passenger was having breathing difficulties when he dropped her off,” Agus said.

Purbalingga Health Agency head Hanung Wikantono said YT’s symptoms were not linked to COVID-19.

“She was conscious during the evacuation. There were no seizures. She has a history of asthma,” Hanung said, adding that the patient was in stable condition.

The government has officially banned the Idul Fitri tradition of mudik (exodus) to stem the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the country. However, a recent survey by the Transportation Ministry showed that 7 percent of citizens had already left for their hometowns ahead of the Islamic holiday.

Some residents of Greater Jakarta participated in mudik despite the ban. Within the first five hours after the ministry's travel restrictions were officially enacted, the Jakarta Police stopped more than 1,000 motorists attempting to leave Greater Jakarta. (rfa)