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Jakarta Post

Plague-ridden olden Jakarta reflects its culture

  • Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak


Jakarta   /   Wed, June 3 2020   /  01:00 am
In good hands: A photo taken in 1939 shows a dormitory with sanitary facilities at the Children's Department of the Central Civil Hospital and Medical (CBZ) in Batavia, now Jakarta. The hospital also has a separate building to treat dysentery patients.(Common Wikimedia/Tropenmuseum)

The capital city is not a newbie when it comes to deadly epidemics, having experienced several in the span of about 400 years, most caused by poor public health and sanitation. Jakarta has recorded more than 6,800 cases of COVID-19, more than other regions of Indonesia. On May 27, the number of patients increased by 137 – a new spike after four days of seeing the curve descending. Of those registered as COVID-19 positive, 2,043 patients were still being treated at hospitals, while 2,584 others were self-isolating. Both while the city is struggling to flatten the curve of infections, COVID-19 is not the first pandemic to hit Jakarta. Ancient Javanese manuscript Babad Nitik Sarta Cabolek holds a story that boasts about the greatness of Sultan Agung of Mataram, the Islamic kingdom in Central Java in the 17th century. It says that the sultan flew to Mecca every time for Fri...