COVID-19 cluster in Indonesia’s health ministry prompts calls for government institutions to set example of strict protocols

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s government institutions must set examples of disciplined health protocols, said House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani following the emergence of COVID-19 clusters at key ministries. 

In a statement on Thursday (Sep 17), Mdm Maharani said COVID-19 has spread to 30 ministerial offices and agencies in the capital, based on data from the Jakarta government. 

According to the city government’s COVID-19 website, there were 139 cases at the Ministry of Health, 90 at the Ministry of Transport and 42 at the Ministry of Finance. The data is dated Sep 7. 

“The high number of COVID-19 cases in these office clusters is very worrying. 

“Government offices must set an example of complying with disciplined health protocols,” said Mdm Maharani.  

The parliament speaker called for institutions, both at the national and regional levels, to evaluate and control the implementation of health protocols in their respective offices.

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo dressed in a traditional outfit from East Nusa Tenggara
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, dressed in a traditional outfit from East Nusa Tenggara and wearing a face mask, walking with chairman of the People’s Assembly Bambang Soesatyo and chairperson of the House of Representatives, Puan Maharani before his state-of-the-nation address at a general assembly at parliament in Jakarta, Aug 14, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Indonesia parliament/Handout)

“Do not let government offices become a bad example of the implementation of health protocols,” she added. 

Since the pandemic hit Indonesia, COVID-19 clusters have been identified in offices in Jakarta as well as industrial zones in its surrounding satellite cities.

In the Bekasi regency east of Jakarta, there have been at least five known clusters of COVID-19 in industrial areas under major multinational corporations.

READ: Return to Jakarta lockdown will hit economy this quarter, but bitter pill needs to be swallowed, say economists

The disease has also spread within the city government, claiming the life of Jakarta administration secretary Saefullah who died on Wednesday noon after being tested positive last week.

Jakarta is currently the epicentre of the pandemic in Indonesia with more than 58,000 cases and 1,400 deaths.

Total cases in Indonesia have surpassed 230,000 COVID-19 cases, with more than 9,200 deaths.

On Monday, a partial lockdown was re-imposed in Jakarta to curb the pandemic.

THERE HAVE BEEN RECOVERIES AS WELL: HEALTH MINISTRY 

When contacted, health ministry’s disease control and prevention director-general Achmad Yurianto acknowledged the detection of COVID-19 cases in the ministry.

There have also been recoveries, he added. 

Mr Yurianto, who was previously the national COVID-19 task force spokesman, said the ministry would continue to implement the regular health protocols. 

He said the ministry buildings’ air conditioning systems were not equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, but windows have been left open to ensure good air circulation.

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