Viral: Healthcare workers in Indonesia wear plastic raincoats for protection against COVID-19

Healthcare workers at a community clinic in Bogor regency, Indonesia wearing single-use plastic raincoats in the absence of protective medical gear. Photo: Istimewa
Healthcare workers at a community clinic in Bogor regency, Indonesia wearing single-use plastic raincoats in the absence of protective medical gear. Photo: Istimewa

Single-use plastic raincoats are all that stand in the way between healthcare professionals and the novel coronavirus in Bogor regency, West Java, as a shortage of standardized protective medical gear in the region is putting those on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 at serious risk.

Recently, photos of doctors and nurses at a Puskesmas (community clinic) in Bogor regency’s Leuwiliang went viral, each sporting different colored discardable raincoats that are generally sold on the streets for around IDR10K (US$0.61). 

That clinic is currently observing 14 patients who may have been infected with the coronavirus.

“Most of those under observation just came back from the Middle East. One came in contact with a professor in Japan. Another is a Ministry of Transportation employee,” paramedic Atih Djuarsih told Liputan 6, adding that those exhibiting symptoms for COVID-19 are treated in an isolation room.

“There is no protective gear. We use these raincoats so that, most importantly, there is no physical contact with the patients and we are somewhat protected from droplets.”

Hesti Iswandari, director of the Leuwiliang General Hospital, said what we all pretty much already know about how well raincoats would fare as protective gear.

“There is no seal. The neck is exposed. The hands too. But they’re wearing them at Leuwiliang Puskesmas. But we truly don’t have the protective gear. We have the money, but not the gear,” she said.

Bogor Regent Ade Yasin acknowledged the protective gear shortage in his region, but pointed out that it’s a problem common across Indonesia.

If you would like to donate money for the procurement of protective gear and other essential medical equipment to aid our healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19, check out our list of trustworthy local charities here.

This afternoon, the Health Ministry announced 107 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the cumulative total in the country to 686. Of those, 30 have recovered while 55 have died.

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