Jakarta main hospitals at full capacity amid Covid-19 surge

Govt to use three-star hotels, more rooms at converted athletes' village as cases surge

Portraits of doctors and nurses who have died from Covid-19 displayed as part of a public awareness campaign about the virus in Jakarta. Earlier this month, Indonesia's Covid-19 spokesman said the city's 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals had an occupanc
Portraits of doctors and nurses who have died from Covid-19 displayed as part of a public awareness campaign about the virus in Jakarta. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Main hospitals in the Indonesian capital Jakarta have reported full occupancy, with some having a waiting list of up to 20 confirmed Covid-19 patients seeking treatment, as cases continue to surge in the country.

To ease the pressure on the hospitals in the city of more than 10 million, the government is making more rooms available at Jakarta's Wisma Atlet, an athletes' residence converted into a hospital for coronavirus patients with mild symptoms.

The government is also set to tap three-star hotels in the capital as centralised quarantine centres for asymptomatic patients.

The capital has 190 hospitals, according to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.

Earlier this month, the country's Covid-19 spokesman Wiku Adisasmito said Jakarta's 67 Covid-19 referral hospitals had an occupancy rate of 77 per cent, with 69 per cent of intensive care unit beds already occupied.

Six Covid-19 designated hospitals contacted by The Straits Times on Sunday and Monday said the numbers of inpatients have spiked, especially since last month.

The city-run Pasar Minggu Hospital had 20 coronavirus-confirmed patients waiting for a bed on Saturday, according to the hospital management. It said that all 220 beds were occupied, with the hospital preparing 80 more beds for Covid-19 patients.

At the state-owned Pertamina hospital in the Kebayoran Baru area, 13 confirmed patients were on the waiting list on Monday, with more than 300 beds already occupied. Meanwhile, the Medistra private hospital in the city centre has been running at full capacity for about two weeks.

The Straits Times understands that patient turnover at public hospitals is lower than at private hospitals, with public hospital management allowing those with coronavirus to remain in hospital for longer periods.

This is despite the patients showing signs of recovery. Critics say the result is that those who need urgent treatment are being deprived of care in public hospitals.

At private hospitals, there is an incentive for the management to discharge recovering patients in a more timely manner.

 
 
 

These hospitals are reimbursed by the government based on the number of inpatients the private hospitals have seen, regardless of their length of stay.

A check on Monday with two private hospitals in Jakarta - Pondok Indah and MMC - and the government-run Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital showed all were running at full capacity.

Indonesia has recorded 252,923 confirmed Covid-19 cases, of which 64,554 were from Jakarta, as at yesterday. The number of deaths totalled 9,837 nationwide.

  • VIRUS FIGURES

  • 252,923

    Number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Indonesia as at yesterday.

    9,837

    Number of deaths nationwide.

But the government has repeatedly guaranteed it has the capacity to treat all coronavirus patients, offering the Wisma Atlet option for those with mild symptoms.

Hospitals contacted by The Straits Times say they have been referring asymptomatic patients and those with mild to moderate symptoms to Wisma Atlet, which is not as well-equipped as hospitals.

The athletes' village has 10 towers, with four being used to treat Covid-19 patients. On Monday, the newly converted fourth tower, which has a 1,500-bed capacity, started to take in asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms.

Another tower in the village is being used for the same kind of patients, while the two remaining towers are for those with mild to moderate symptoms.

Each tower can accommodate between 1,300 and 1,500 beds.

 
 
 

Wisma Atlet was opened for coronavirus patients in March with 3,000 beds, but its capacity can be expanded to hold 24,000 beds in total.

Indonesia is shifting from home isolation to a centralised-quarantine system to deal with asymptomatic persons, after the country noted an increasing number of transmissions among family members and neighbours.

Observers estimate that between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of all infected individuals in Indonesia may show no symptoms.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2020, with the headline 'Jakarta main hospitals at full capacity'. Print Edition | Subscribe