Covid-19: Central Java to set up more isolation facilities, prepare for worst-case scenario

Health workers in protective gear take part in an infection prevention and control drill on Feb. 12, 2020 at Sanglah hopital in Denpasar, Bali.

Authorities in Central Java are planning to turn a number of public facilities in the region into isolation wards designated for confirmed Covid-19 patients and suspected cases as the province prepares measures to anticipate the worst-case scenario in the coronavirus outbreak.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo announced the plan following a virtual meeting with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Tuesday.

Among the facilities were the Central Java Provincial Administration Training Center, the Religious Affairs Ministry Training Center, the Donohudan Hajj Dormitory, the province-owned Kesambi Hotel and the Jatidiri sports centre.

They would add to the 303 isolation chambers in 58 hospitals that the administration had prepared, a number that is still expected to increase as private hospitals start to pitch in.

"We have prepared 13 first-line hospitals as well as 45 second-line and third-line hospitals. We will continue with the preparation specifically for [Covid-19] treatment, including to encourage several start-up hospitals in Surakarta and Brebes [to participate]," Ganjar said on Tuesday.

The administration had also coordinated with the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) to register and prepare facilities controlled by the two forces to use as additional isolation wards in case the outbreak goes downhill fast.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Central Java has continued to rise, doubling to 38 with the confirmation of 19 new infections on Wednesday. The province has so far recorded four fatalities from the disease.

Ganjar had also requested tents to be prepared as a last resort.

"We even have asked the [Central Java] Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency to report the number of tents we own. We have anticipated it very carefully while continuing preventive measures," Ganjar said.

The governor, however, expressed the hope that the province would not need to see the worst-case scenario unfold if Central Java continues its measures to stem the transmission of the disease.

"That is why I ordered all regents, mayors, subdistrict heads, village heads to neighbourhood unit heads to actively educate residents to stay at home," Ganjar said.

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