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Jakarta Post

More than 5,000 bodies buried under COVID-19 protocols in Jakarta

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, September 7, 2020   /   07:11 pm
More than 5,000 bodies buried under COVID-19 protocols in Jakarta A gravedigger writes the name of a deceased COVID-19 victim on a cross at Pondok Ranggon public cemetery in East Jakarta. (JP/P.J. Leo)

Jakarta has buried 5,083 bodies under COVID-19 protocols since the virus was detected in Indonesia in March, the city administration has reported.

The city now averages between 26 and 27 COVID-19 burials a day, with a significant uptick since the beginning of August.

At least 847 bodies have been interred under virus protocols in the past three weeks, with a daily record of 60 burials on Wednesday.

The government requires both suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients to be buried under the protocols.

The number of burials is much higher than the official COVID-19 death toll reported by the Health Ministry – which stands at 1,296 for Jakarta as of Monday – because the government excludes the deaths of suspected patients from the official count despite the World Health Organization’s recommendations to the contrary.

As a result of limited testing capacity, many suspected patients have died while waiting to be tested or waiting to receive test results.

While the number of deaths continues to rise, cemeteries designated for COVID-19 burials are becoming overwhelmed. Many gravediggers are reportedly working around the clock, and some have no personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear.

Pondok Ranggon cemetery in East Jakarta is expected to run out of space for COVID-19 burials in October.

By the end of August, space remained for only 1,100 more burials in the cemetery’s 7,000 square meter southern area.

“The capacity is likely to be critical in mid-October,” Nadi, the cemetery’s management officer, said recently, as quoted by kompas.com.

An average of 180 bodies were buried at Pondok Ranggon cemetery per week – 700 to 720 per month –Nadi said.

As of Monday, Jakarta, the hardest-hit province in the country, had reported 47,379 confirmed COVID-19 cases.