IO, Jakarta – President Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) stated that two Indonesian Citizens have had contact with a Japanese citizen positively diagnosed with Corona virus Covid-19, and were themselves exposed. “A Japanese citizen came to Indonesia, then stayed in Malaysia. He was found to be positive for Corona when tested. The team in Indonesia immediately investigated his movements,” he said in Jakarta on Monday (02/03/2020). “Investigation was instituted against anyone the Japanese man met and where he met them. It turned out that he had contact with a 64-year-old lady and her 31-year-old daughter. Our team checked their position, and it turns out that they were already hospitalized. This morning, I had a report from the Minister of Health that the woman and her daughter tested positive for Corona.”
In the press conference held in Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, on Tuesday (03/03/2020), Jokowi started by asking the people to pray for the two Corona patients to give them strength. He decided not to expose their identities, and referred to them as “Case 1” and “Case 2”. He further stated that he has directed relevant officials to maintain medical ethics and protect the personal data of the Corona sufferers. “I have also told the Minister of Health to remind hospitals and other Government officials not to disturb these patients and disclose their data. We must respect their privacy, prevent them from being distressed by keeping their data confidential. The media must also respect this privacy, leave them in peace so they can recover more quickly. Again, I have told the ministers to really protect our citizens’ right to privacy,” Jokowi said.
Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto stated that the two Corona virus patients are more or less healthy, despite having been declared positive of the virus. “Both patients are actually in good condition like you and I. They cough a little, it’s all,” he said at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (Rumah Sakit Penyakit Infeksi – “RSPI”) on Monday (02/03/2020).
The patients, originally living in Depok, are now being treated in di Sulianti Saroso RSPI’s Isolated Ward after being referred from Mitra Keluarga Hospital in Depok. The RSPI was selected because of its specialization and comprehensive isolation treatment facilities. “They are quarantined in the Isolated Ward, a separate building. Sulianti Saroso RSPI is a national reference hospital,” Terawan said. “The two female patients are being treated optimally as per the results of computerized medical simulations. In any case, Corona virus is not nearly as deadly as H5N1 and avian flu. Its mortality is actually very low at 2% or less, depending on the region.”
Meanwhile, Direktur Utama Sulianti Saroso RSPI, Mohammad Syahril said that the isolated mother-and-daughter patients are getting better. “Alhamdulillah, praised be Allah, the two patients are getting better. They can communicate, they are no longer feverish, they do not have trouble breathing, they eat well. They only cough a little now,” he said at the Sulianti Saroso RSPI on Tuesday (03/03/2020).
Syahril said that patients declared positive for Corona virus will be monitored and rechecked five days later. “So if the first check was positive, we will check again five days from now. If they are found negative in the second check, we wait for another five days and checked again. If it is confirmed negative, we send them home. So, the requirements for release are, one, when they are checked negative; two, when there are no more symptoms,” he said.
Jokowi advised the people to continue their daily activity in peace and remain alert in response to the Corona virus infection. “I hope that the people would remain alert, yet continue their daily activities. The symptoms of the Covid-19 virus are similar to the flu,” he said. “This disease is curable. Look at China, Japan, Iran, and Italy. The fact remains that most of the patients in these countries have healed and recovered. Therefore, we do not need to be paranoid about this, but we need to remain careful and alert in our daily life. It is not necessary for the people to buy a lot of daily necessities. On the contrary, this extreme buying, this overstocking, this is what causes scarcity.”
Jokowi has checked the availability of daily necessities with his subordinates. He requests people not to panic, as “The Government guarantees the availability of daily necessities and basic medicines. We are handling the Covid-19 properly. what Indonesians need to do is prevent its spread. It is as easy as washing our hands regularly,” he said at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Tuesday (03/03/2020). “We just need to maintain our hygiene and fitness, which will strengthen our immunity. We also need to habituate ourselves to not touch our faces so often, or at least not to do so until we have washed our hands.”
Jokowi ordered the Chief of Police, General Idham Azis, to take actions concerning the current scarcity of face masks and gel sanitizers. “I have also ordered the Chief of Police to deal strictly with irresponsible parties, which used this kind of momentum to overstock on necessary items, especially masks, only to resell them at extremely high prices,” he said. “Be careful, you unscrupulous sellers! I am warning you.”
Jokowi has checked the availability of masks at the market, and found that indeed, some types have become rare. “The Minister (of Health) has checked, and the info that I received shows that domestic stock is about 50 million individual masks are available. It is true that some types have become rare,” he said.
President Jokowi then ordered his staff to renovate a hospital in Galang Island, Riau Islands. The hospital will be dedicated to the treatment of Corona virus. He stated that the hospital building has existed in Galang Island in the first place, but it has not operated for a long time and needs to be repaired. Furthermore, he stated that Indonesia has many islands where these patients can be evacuated. “We did not build anew, because there are facilities already but they have not been used for a long time. We will renovate it quickly. Furthermore, other than Sebaru Island, we also have Galang Island, Natuna, other options. Not all Corona sufferers need to be brought to Sebaru,” Jokowi said.
Jokowi further said that there are 132 hospitals in several provinces with specific Isolation Wards. “This is because we want speed, we want facilities that are ready around the clock, that are independent. Our country is so big, so that we hope that at a certain point every region has it (hospitals with Isolation Wards), even though now we have 132 hospitals with isolation facilities at ready,” he said. “We need to build more facilities like in Sebaru Island and Galang Island.” (des)