Indonesia says community clinics capable of early COVID-19 detection

Achmad Yurianto, the spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters in Indonesia. Photo: Twitter/@KemenkesRI
Achmad Yurianto, the spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters in Indonesia. Photo: Twitter/@KemenkesRI

An Indonesian health official yesterday said that community clinics (Puskesmas) across the country are well-equipped to detect the novel coronavirus in its early stages, as the country steps up efforts to handle the COVID-19 outbreak within the country. 

The statement came from Achmad Yurianto, a secretary at the Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Directorate General who was recently appointed spokesperson for COVID-19-related matters in Indonesia. 

“All Puskesmas in Indonesia are capable of carrying out early detections of this matter (coronavirus),” Achmad said at a press conference in Jakarta, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Achmad explained that when patients with coughing and cold-like symptoms visit a Puskesmas, they will be asked to fill up a health alert card in order to immediately refer them to a hospital. 

“Early detection means handling. So when it comes to handling, don’t interpret it with the existence of negative-pressure isolation rooms, as they’re definitely not available at Puskesmas. [What we meant with] handling is not like that,” he continued.

The official urged residents living in areas without large hospitals to refrain from panicking when they encounter COVID-19 or its symptoms.

In addition, the Indonesian government has launched 119, a COVID-19 hotline for those with questions related to the coronavirus.

Indonesia yesterday announced that two more patients have tested positive for COVID-19, adding to the total number of confirmed domestic cases to six. The fifth case is a 36-year-old male who was a crew member of Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama for two weeks in February; while the sixth case is a 55-year-old male who contracted the virus locally in Jakarta.

Achmad said that both of them are in stable condition. Neither require intravenous drip or oxygen supply as they don’t have fever, complaints of coughing or a cold.

Indonesia announced its first coronavirus cases last Monday ⁠— a 64-year-old woman and her 31-year-old daughter who live in Depok ⁠— amid growing reports abroad involving patients who recently visited the archipelago.

The Health Ministry announced the third and fourth cases on Friday. They were among the seven people in isolation at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital in North Jakarta after having been in close contact with the country’s first and second case.

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