Bishop Siprianus Hormat of Ruteng hands donations to East Manggarai district head Andreas Agas on May 4. (Photo supplied)
Catholic dioceses in Indonesia are supporting medical staff and volunteers on the front line against the coronavirus by giving them much-needed medical equipment.
Bishop Siprianus Hormat of Ruteng was in East Nusa Tenggara province’s East Manggarai district on May 4 to hand over medical equipment and other supplies to a hospital and aid stations formed by church groups and communities.
Father Max Regus, chairman of the diocese’s Covid-19 task force who accompanied Bishop Hormat, said the equipment included face masks, face shields and rapid test kits.
He said the diocese has also helped by providing necessities for affected people through radio and media campaigns.
"This pandemic has caused anxiety and economic impacts on society," he told UCA News.
Two people have been confirmed with Covid-19 in West Manggarai district, one of three districts served by the diocese, while tests have been carried out on dozens of people associated with them.
More than 5,000 are still being monitored in the three districts, according to the authorities.
Father Regus said that they would continue to conduct pastoral visits and deliver help.
The church was looking to fill gaps that had resulted from the government’s slow response to the pandemic which had left hospitals short of protective gear and medical supplies, he said.
Palembang Archdiocese in South Sumatra has also provided assistance to medical personnel in hospitals and other medical facilities.
Guntur Wijaya, coordinator of the archdiocese’s crisis center, said aid had been provided for 10 Catholic hospitals, two government establishments, 10 polyclinics, and 26 health centers.
"In addition to distributing personal protection equipment [PPE], we are also looking for food donations to help affected people,” he said.
He said the crisis center was established in response to a call by Sacred Heart Archbishop Aloysius Sudarso, who has asked the Church to support government efforts against the pandemic.
Other dioceses are also playing their part. Banjarmasin Diocese in East Kalimantan donated PPE to two hospitals in Banjarmasin on May 5.
"Being socially distanced from others does not prevent us from sharing our love,” said Father Krispinus Cosmas Tukan, the diocese’s vicar general. "We must care and show love for others.”
As of May 6, Indonesia had recorded 12,071 Covid-19 cases and 872 deaths.