Indonesia, Malaysia scramble to contain coronavirus
Indonesia’s Ministry of State-owned Enterprises (BUMN) is planning to convert current public works into hospitals to treat people contracting the acute respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
A BUMN official said the convertion of an athlete village in Jakarta into an emergency hospital will be expanded in other localities nationwide, including Bandung in West Java, Semarang in Central Java, and Surabaya in East Java.
Earlier on March 23, BUMN coordinated with the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing to complete the convertion of four out of the 10 towers of the Wisma Atay Kemayoran athlete village in downtown Jakarta – which was used in the 2018 Asian Games – into a hospital to meet the surging treatment demand of coronavirus patients in the coming days.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has trippled in the past week, from 172 on March 17 to 686 on March 24, including 55 deaths. The pandemic has spread to at least 22 out of the 34 cities and provinces in the country.
Meanwhile, Malaysia on March 24 asked the Chinese government to send medical experts here to help the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the ministry is seeking assistance from foreign governments to combat the outbreak, based on the good relations between Malaysia and these countries.
He said health experts in 26 major hospitals in Malaysia will hold a video conference with their counterparts in China on March 26 to share best practices and strategies in the anti-coronavirus drive.
As of March 24, Malaysia recorded 1,624 COVID-19 cases, including 15 deaths and 183 recoveries./.