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Jakarta Post

Tycoon leads initiative to tackle COVID-19 head-on

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, June 1, 2020   /   05:58 pm
Tycoon leads initiative to tackle COVID-19 head-on Head of Artha Graha Field Hospital for COVID-19 patients Ridwan Purwanto gives a tour around the facility on May 30, 2020. (The Jakarta Post/M. Taufiqurrahman)

While there are many private initiatives that are helping the government to deal with COVID-19 through donations, Artha Group tycoon Tomy Winata has taken the lead in an effort to directly fight the pandemic.

His charitable foundation Artha Graha Peduli has opened a field hospital in North Jakarta dedicated to conducting rapid tests on targeted segments of society, in addition to providing beds and possible treatment for COVID-19 in the event of a spike in the number of patients requiring hospitalization.

The field hospital, which is run by Artha Graha Peduli with support from numerous institutions and business entities including Buddha Tzu Chi Foundation, food giant Indofood and property giant Sinarmas, is manned by eight specialist doctors, 15 general practitioners, 34 nurses and 209 volunteers.

The field hospital also has five isolation rooms equipped with 16 beds where COVID-19 patients could stay before being transferred to a government-run emergency facility in Wisma Atlet Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

The Artha Graha-run facility has conducted extensive rapid testing for members of the public. As of April 15, the facility had conducted 3,900 rapid tests.

The field hospital has also dispatched medical workers to conduct rapid tests outside of Greater Jakarta, including in Kendal, Central Java; Cianjur, West Java; and Kubu Raya, West Kalimantan.

"In this facility, we conduct tight screening on those who have a high or low potential of getting infected. We then conduct a rapid test and if they are found to be positive, we then take PCR and swab tests here as well," said Ridwan Purwanto, a Navy doctor who now serves as head of the field hospital.

The North Jakarta city administration has given its approval for the Artha Graha Peduli field hospital to serve as a facility that can handle COVID-19 patients. North Jakarta Mayor Sigit Wijatmoko issued credentials for the field hospital in early April during a ceremony at the facility.

During a visit to the facility in late April, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said the field hospital could serve as a back-up facility in the event a spike in COVID-19 cases leads to greater number of hospitalizations.

Speaking on Saturday, Tomy said the initiative for setting up the hospital began in December, when news broke out from China that an illness caused by a virus started to infect people in Wuhan, China.

It just so happened that Artha Graha Peduli would focus on health as its primary agenda for 2020. "You could say that we had marshaled our resources six months before the pandemic struck," Tomy said.

In January, when COVID-19 was still concentrated in Wuhan, Artha Graha Peduli ordered the construction of a quarantine facility on Sebaru Island, off the coast of North Jakarta, which the government later used to house 69 Indonesian crewmen who were airlifted from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.

Tomy said the field hospital and Artha Graha Peduli would be in it for the long-haul.

"Even after we have a vaccine, it will be another three years before life can get back to normal. We have to manage our lives to live with COVID-19," Tomy said.