Jakarta readies more beds as virus overwhelms health system

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People walk past a display coffin, warning people of the dangers of COVID-19, in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept. 5. — DIMAS ARDIAN/BLOOMBERG

INDONESIA’s capital is adding thousands of beds to house coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients as its health system struggles with record increases in virus cases.

The system is “already overwhelmed,” said Jossep William, coordinator of volunteer department at the task force for handling the pandemic, adding that ambulances haven’t stopped running for days to transport patients. “We can still contain the patient flow for now but if it continues like this, our health system will collapse.”

The task force is opening up another tower at the Wisma Atlet, an apartment complex built to house athletes for the 2018 Asian Games that has since been converted to a hospital dedicated to the coronavirus outbreak. It’s also preparing to open another tower to bring the total capacity to 10,000 beds, from about 6,500, said Tugas Ratmono, who oversees the hospital.

Jakarta, home to more than 10 million people, has brought back social distancing measures and pledged to isolate people who have tested positive for the virus, instead of letting them quarantine at home. The country reported another record increase in virus cases on Saturday, bringing the total to exceed 240,000 confirmed infections, of which a quarter is in the capital. — Bloomberg