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Jakarta Post

Hotel evicts healthcare workers as N. Sumatra govt gets behind on bills

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan, North Sumatra   /   Mon, May 4, 2020   /   03:35 pm
Hotel evicts healthcare workers as N. Sumatra govt gets behind on bills Medical workers take a swab sample from a patient under surveillance (PDP) on April 28 at Tarakan Regional General Hospital in Tarakan, North Kalimantan. (Antara/Fachrurrozi)

The Travel Hub Hotel Kualanamu Airport has asked frontline medical workers to vacate their rooms on Saturday, as the regional government had not paid their hotel bills. The medical workers all work at G.L. Tobing Hospital in Tanjung Morawa district, Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra, where they are treating  COVID-19 patients.

The incident caught the public eye after Facebook user Joniar Nainggolan uploaded a livestream of the eviction on Saturday.

“Until today, these medical workers have been working for a month without pay. I wish President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would take action on this matter,” Joniar wrote in the caption.

Rudi Rahmadsyah Sambas, the chairman of the North Sumatra Indonesian General Practitioners Association (PDUI Sumut) who also volunteers at G.L. Tobing Hospital, confirmed the eviction of medical workers from the hotel.

“I was still working that morning when I suddenly got a notification to vacate the hotel room immediately. It confused us,” he said.

Read also: Doctors resign from COVID-19 referral hospital in North Sumatra over incentives

North Sumatra Health Agency head Alwi Mujahit Hasibuan said that the provincial administration’s troubled finances was partly to blame for the incident.

“As we are experiencing a funding shortage, we have asked medical workers to share rooms, one room for two persons. However, they rejected the idea, so the [eviction] happened,” Alwi said on Sunday.

Alwi added that the administration had spent nearly Rp 1 billion (US$66,000) on the 80 medical workers it had put up at the hotel, excluding transportation and the workers' salaries. Nonetheless, he promised to settle the medical workers' hotel bills on Monday.

Earlier on April 9, Home Minister Tito Karnavian said that the North Sumatra governor had pledged to triple the region's COVID-19 budget to Rp 1.5 trillion, which also included a stimulus package for the regional economy.

On Sunday, North Sumatra recorded 123 confirmed cases and 13 deaths, while the nationwide tally had increased to 11,192 cases and 845 deaths. (trn)