Benarnews.org - The Indonesian Medical Association expressed alarm Monday after the number of doctors who died of COVID-19 jumped to 25, and urged the government to be transparent about its coronavirus data amid criticism about low testing rates.
Health authorities confirmed 218 new infections on Monday, the biggest daily rise during the pandemic in Southeast Asia’s most populous nation, taking the national tally to 2,491. The national death toll rose to 209 after officials recorded 11 new coronavirus-related deaths.
“We need data that everyone can refer to and can be the basis for preventive strategies for health workers, so that we can focus on tackling COVID-19,” Halik Malik, spokesman for the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) told BenarNews.
Naek L. Tobing, a well-known columnist on sexual health, was the latest physician to die of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, Halik said.
At least 18 other doctors and six dentists have died from the pneumonia-like disease, he said, as he also called on the government to be transparent about the number of health workers who had tested positive for the new coronavirus.
On Monday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said that Indonesia was not among the 10 countries hit hardest by the virus.
“Let the public be aware that Indonesia is not alone in facing this epidemic, to put things in perspective,” he told reporters.
Globally, more than 73,700 people have died and almost 1,325,000 have been infected, according to the latest data compiled by disease experts at Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Halik demanded that the government ensure the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all health workers.
“If more health workers test positive (for COVID-19), health services will be disrupted, not to mention that they could transmit the disease to patients and their families,” he said.
Indonesia has one doctor per 3,000 people, compared to about five for neighboring Malaysia, according to the World Bank.
The chairman of the COVID-19 task force, Doni Monardo, said he would ask authorities to compel some doctors and dentists to avoid practicing their professions during the coronavirus outbreak.
Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said last week that there were more than 8,400 ventilators in 2,867 hospitals across the archipelago nation of 260 million people.
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