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Jakarta Post

Home isolation unaffordable for many Indonesians

  • Ardila Syakriah


Jakarta   /   Wed, September 16 2020   /  01:00 am
Cramped: Ambulance driver Bambang Siswoyo chats with his wife at their rooming house in Sidoarjo, East Java, on Sept. 14. When Siswoyo was suspected of having COVID-19 in July, he had to self-isolate in the room for over 14 days, unable to keep a safe distance from his family members.(Courtesy of Arindi Siti Choiryah/-)

Staying home is considered key in suppressing COVID-19 transmission, but many Indonesians confirmed or suspected of having the disease cannot afford to self-isolate because of lack of space. Ambulance driver Bambang Siswoyo, 46, was suspected of having COVID-19 in July when he developed asthma so bad that his wife had to help him get up in the mornings. A chest X-ray showed white spots on his lungs. He was swab-tested, but the results never came back to him as "they were lost", he said quoting health authorities. Siswoyo, who since 2004 has been working for a community health center (Puskesmas) in Sidoarjo, East Java, one of Indonesia's epicenters of the outbreak, spent over two weeks, until August, isolating himself in his kost (rooming house). He lives in a 4 meter by 4 m room, which he rents for about Rp 250,000 (US$16.81) per month. It has one small bed that he...