Coronavirus: South-east Asia

Burial space fast running out in Jakarta

City races to prepare 2ha plot of land for Covid-19 graves as cases continue to rise

Workers burying the body of a Covid-19 victim yesterday at Pondok Ranggon Cemetery in East Jakarta. Capacity at the cemetery was expected to be at a critical state this month. Since March, 6,248 bodies have been buried in accordance with Covid-19 pro
Workers burying the body of a Covid-19 victim yesterday at Pondok Ranggon Cemetery in East Jakarta. Capacity at the cemetery was expected to be at a critical state this month. Since March, 6,248 bodies have been buried in accordance with Covid-19 protocols in Jakarta, and the city saw 1,372 Covid-19-related burials last month, marking the highest monthly rise yet. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA • The Jakarta administration is setting up a 2ha plot of land in Rorotan public cemetery in North Jakarta for Covid-19 graves as burial space for victims of the coronavirus in the capital city is running out.

Jakarta Bina Marga road agency head Hari Nugroho said the administration was currently preparing the land to be used for burials and building the necessary infrastructure.

"We're preparing the land and building a road to access the cemetery. Construction progress is at 4 per cent," Mr Hari said on Monday, as quoted by news site Tempo.co.

The agency will also level the land surface to make the burial process easier. The project was started on Sept 17 and is expected to be completed in December.

"We expect this 2ha burial space to accommodate 6,000 funerals," Mr Hari said.

The city administration provided the additional land for Covid-19 graves as coronavirus cases in Jakarta have continued to rise and burial grounds designated for victims have started to run out.

Mr Nadi, the management officer of Pondok Ranggon public cemetery in East Jakarta, said on Sept 14 that there was space left for only another 1,100 Covid-19 burials in the cemetery's southern area of 7,000 sq m.

The capacity would likely be at a critical state in the middle of this month, he added, and it was estimated that, this month, the remaining land may be able to accommodate only 380 to 400 bodies.

Since the pandemic hit the country in March, 6,248 bodies have been buried in accordance with Covid-19 protocols in Jakarta. Last month, the capital city recorded 1,372 Covid-19-related burials, marking the highest monthly rise yet.

The Covid-19 death toll among doctors has also been a cause for concern, with Indonesia's Health Ministry forming a team to investigate the matter.

"(The team) has just been formed by the Health Ministry," Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) chairman Daeng M. Faqih said on Monday, as quoted by Kompas.com. "IDI hopes this team can get straight to work to find the best solution to protect health workers."

 
 
 

He added that IDI had worked closely with the national Covid-19 task force and the Health Ministry to provide personal protective equipment and free swab tests for health workers and also helped in the formation of the audit team.

As of Tuesday, the association had recorded 127 Covid-19 deaths among doctors, 65 of whom were general practitioners and 56 were specialists, IDI spokesman Halik Malik told The Jakarta Post.

East Java had recorded the most deaths among doctors at 30, followed by North Sumatra with 21 deaths and Jakarta with 16. The Indonesian Nurses Association also told the Post that as of Tuesday, at least 92 nurses had died of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's House of Representatives members have called on Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto to rework his communication skills following a series of public gaffes that appear to have led him to lie low despite the country's battle against the pandemic.

 
 

In recent months, Mr Terawan seems to have made fewer public appearance after critics lambasted him for creating numerous controversies, including by playing down the Covid-19 threat at the start of the outbreak in the country, despite his position leading the national efforts against the coronavirus.

Mr Emanuel Melkiades Laka Lena, the chairman of House Commission IX overseeing healthcare, acknowledged that the minister had displayed rather poor communication skills, though he deemed that Mr Terawan had done a good enough job in handling the virus crisis as proven during previous hearings with the legislative body.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2020, with the headline 'Burial space fast running out in Jakarta'. Print Edition | Subscribe