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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Public urged to stop accusing medical workers of profiting from outbreak

  • Ramadani Saputra and Moch. Fiqih Prawira Adjie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, September 11, 2020   /   04:06 pm
COVID-19: Public urged to stop accusing medical workers of profiting from outbreak An image that circulated on social media shows a group of medical workers with a sign that says, “We stay at work for you. You stay at home for us.” (Handout/HO)

Doctors have asked the public to stop accusing medical workers of profiting off the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on social media.

Muhammad Alkaff, an internist at Persahabatan General Hospital (RSUP) in East Jakarta, urged the public to spare doctors and other medical workers from such accusations and hate speech.

“Please don’t [attack] doctors or medical workers who have struggled to such an extent with more than 100 casualties, with hate speech alleging that we or the hospital receive tens or even hundreds of millions [of rupiah]. We don’t,” Alkaff said in an interview with The Jakarta Post recently.

The plea came amid the circulation of rumors among social media users that accuse medical workers of seeking to benefit from the outbreak, despite the growing number of casualties among them in the frontline while treating COVID-19 patients.

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) reported that at least 109 doctors, eight dentists and 70 nurses had died of COVID-19 as of Friday. The association estimated thousands more were also infected by the novel coronavirus while treating their patients.

“It’s not true that COVID-19 cases in Indonesia have surpassed China. The data is just manipulated so medical workers can gain a profit,” Twitter handle @hntyoid posted on July 18, when Indonesia’s official count of COVID-19 cases reached 84,882, surpassing China with 83,644.

Read also: Patients crowd hospitals as Indonesia loses 183 'priceless' medical workers

A doctor from Kediri, East Java, Tri Maharani, refuted the claims.

“These false accusations have hindered us in fighting COVID-19. [They worsen] our fatigue and pressure while [containing this outbreak],” she said in an episode of weekly talk show Mata Najwa, a clip of which was uploaded onto YouTube on Thursday.

People started to flock to crowded places as authorities started to ease COVID-19 restrictions in June. However, new COVID-19 patients swarmed hospitals, prompting fears that the country’s healthcare system would eventually collapse.

Responding to such concerns, the Jakarta administration will reimpose large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) starting on Monday as the isolation bed occupancy rate in the capital has reached 77 percent.