‘Tired’ health officials neglected to clean up medical waste from COVID-19 testing in Surabaya

A bunch of medical waste was reportedly scattered on a street in Surabaya, East Java following a mass rapid test that took place over the weekend, prompting an apology from city officials.

A photo that has since circulated widely on social media shows used and leftover items scattered on the street below Suramadu Bridge, which connects Surabaya and the town of Bangkalan on Madura Island.

There appears to be a number of face shields, rubber gloves, hazmat suits, rapid test kits and boxes, all left around the waterways and at a park nearby.

The Surabaya city administration has apologized for the negligence, and said the site was cleaned up and disinfected yesterday afternoon.

“We apologize for this inconvenience. Maybe the officers were already tired,” Febriadhitya Prajatara, Surabaya city administration’s spokesperson, said yesterday.

“We will provide a garbage bin dedicated to medical waste, which will be brought [to testing sites] by our colleagues from [the Health Agency] or the Cleanliness and Green Open Space Agency (DKRTH). This is clearly a lesson for us. We deeply apologize.”

The unannounced rapid tests were held for people who hung out and gathered in crowds around the Suramadu bridge, which is situated in Kenjeran district, on Saturday night. The location was chosen due to its popularity, as it’s usually crowded by visitors hanging out in the area to enjoy the Madura Strait scenery on weekends. Out of the reported 569 people tested, the results of at least 23 were declared reactive, which warrant further testing for the coronavirus.


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