Seemingly full COVID-19 emergency hospital in Jakarta not actually full, task force says

Concerns are mounting that Jakarta will soon run out of hospital beds amid huge spikes in new COVID-19 cases lately. No facility would illustrate that possibility better than the Wisma Atlet COVID-19 Emergency Hospital in Kemayoran, which illuminated Central Jakarta with the lights in all of its rooms switched on as seen in a recent viral photo.

Netizens took that photo to mean that the facility, which housed athletes for the 2018 Asian Games before it was transformed into the only temporary specialized hospital for COVID-19 patients in Jakarta, is fully occupied. A drone video taken last night also seemingly showed that the hospital is still operating at full capacity.

COVID-19 task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito clarified that Wisma Atlet, which is currently housing some 1,600 patients, is far from fully occupied.

“We have a total of 2,700 rooms, and 1,600 are occupied. So there are still 1,100 beds available,” Wiku said during a press conference yesterday, adding that all the patients treated at Wisma Atlet exhibit minor or moderate symptoms.

In addition, Wiku said two towers comprising 4,800 rooms have been designated as isolation facilities for patients without symptoms who are not able to self-isolate at home.

Wiku’s clarification came after Governor Anies Baswedan’s statement warning that 77 percent of hospital beds in Jakarta are occupied and that hospitals are projected to be full by Sept. 17. The governor used that, and the recent huge spikes in new COVID-19 cases in Jakarta, as his justification to restore strict restrictions in the capital.

The central government doesn’t seem to be taking Anies’ warning too kindly, with Economic Affairs Minister Airlangga Hartarto yesterday playing down a possible hospital beds shortage by saying that the government has the funds to increase capacity if necessary.

As of Sept. 10, Jakarta has recorded 50,671 confirmed COVID-19 cases, around a quarter of the national total. The capital has regularly recorded over 1,000 fresh cases daily in the past few weeks, with the death toll now at 1,351 and recoveries at 38,228.

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