JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - An Indonesian volunteer group, LaporCovid-19, called on the government to immediately resolve a critical shortage of isolation beds to treat the Covid-19 patients amid a surge of infections that shows no signs of slowing.
"As of January 21, we have received 34 reports from the Covid-19 patients who were rejected by hospitals because they ran out of beds," the LaporCovid-19 initiator, Irma Hidayana, told a virtual press conference on Monday, January 25.
"We have also been assisted by the Jakarta Provincial Health Agency in securing hospital beds[for the patients]," Irma added.
She said that her team has also asked the Ministry of Health four times to find a solution. However, the problem persists.
The availability of isolation beds in Greater Jakarta and other areas in the country shows a significant decrease as the number of daily Covid-19 cases doubled to over 10,000 after the Christmas and New Year holidays. On January 16 alone, the number of Covid-19 cases reached more than 14,000 in a day.
“The number of overcrowded hospitals is increasing in January 2021. Moreover, people’s mobility tends to increase with the implementation of simultaneous regional head elections and the Christmas and New Year holidays throughout December 2020.”
Long queues could cause a delay in treatment and an increased risk of death, she said.
Irma further added that on December 19 last year, she received a report from a resident of Depok on the outskirts of Jakarta saying that a patient, who was suffering from shortness of breath, died on the way to a hospital. No ambulance came to the patient's house even after two hours of waiting.
“The family finally brought him to several hospitals in Depok City and South Jakarta by taking an online taxi. But, the patient died in the taxi after being rejected by the hospitals,” Irma recalled.
LaporCovid-19 also questioned the data on bed occupancy ratio (BOR) claimed by the Jakarta City Administration.
“Why does the BOR still stand at 80 to 87 percent while practically it has reached more than 100 percent?'' A LaporCovid-19 volunteer wrote to Kompas.com on Tuesday, January 19.
The volunteer said that none of the hospitals claimed to have a vacant bed in their Intensive Care Units (ICU).
LaporCovid-19 urged the Jakarta Administration to disclose all information about the availability of ICU beds so that the public will be well-informed.
(Writer: Nicholas Ryan Aditya, Theresia Ruth Simanjuntak | Editor: Diamanty Meiliana, Theresia Ruth Simanjuntak)
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