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Indonesia

Covid-19 has killed more than 70 Indonesian doctors

Medical association calls on people to strictly observe health protocols to protect themselves, medical workers

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Covid-19 has killed more than 70 Indonesian doctors

Passengers sit on designated seats to ensure physical distancing on a train in Jakarta on July 26. Failure to adhere to health protocols is being blamed for a steady increase in Covid-19 infections that have claimed the lives of at least 72 doctors  in Indonesia. (Photo: Adek Berry/AFP)

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More than 70 doctors have died from the coronavirus in Indonesia since the outbreak began spreading across the nation in March, according to the country’s leading medical body.
 
At least 72 have died in the battle against Covid-19, the Indonesian Doctors Association revealed on Aug. 1.

“Most were aged between 28 and 34 years,” spokesman Abdul Halik Malik told reporters.
 
He said the high number of deaths among doctors shows that more needs to be done to protect health workers in the fight against the virus.
 
“To cut infection rates, society must be the vanguard, while health workers are the last bastion,” he said.
 
He said various factors have contributed to doctors’ deaths, including a lack of protective gear and early detection, as well as an absence of tight quarantining.
 
“We have established a team to look at ways to better protect doctors still serving the people,” he told UCA News.
 
He called on all Indonesian people to strictly adhere to health protocols to ease the burden on health workers.

The number of doctors in Indonesia — around 168,000 — is small compared with the population of about 270 million.  
 
Dr. Felix Gunawan, director of the Association of Voluntary Health Service of Indonesia, a Catholic group, said several Catholic doctors were among those who have died from Covid-19 but was unsure of the exact number.
 
He said many doctors become infected when dealing with asymptomatic patients. He said about 80 percent of the patients show no symptoms.

“So when they go to a clinic or hospital they can transmit the virus to medical workers if they don’t apply health protocols,” he told UCA News.
 
More and more hospitals and clinics are being provided with adequate protective gear, which should also help reduce the risks doctors and health workers face.

Gunawan also called on the government to encourage religious leaders to promote health protocols among followers.
 
Indonesia has seen more than 1,500 new cases daily since large-scale social restrictions were eased in June. As of Aug. 3, Indonesia had recorded 113,134 Covid-19 cases and 5,302 deaths.

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