Lenny Tristia Tambun & Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has called on hospitals to increase their bed allocation for coronavirus patients amid a dramatic surge in the number of confirmed cases following the holiday season.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Monday hospitals need to spare up to 40 percent of their beds for Covid-19 patients until at least the end of January.
He argued that while the overall bed occupancy ratio (BOR) remains low, many Covid patients cannot be admitted to hospital due to the small allocation for them.
"For example, a hospital with 100 beds allocates only 10 percent for Covid-19 patients, so it cannot take admission of more than 10 Covid-19 patients despite having a very low BOR," Budi said in a news confetence at the State Palace in Central Jakarta.
Budi asked hospitals across the country to allocate between 30 percent and 40 percent of their beds for Covid-19 patients.
"I'm appealing for hospital directors and owners to increase their quota for Covid-19 patients to between 30 percent and 40 percent. This is only temporarily as we are now facing a surge in (Covid-19) hospitalization by tens of thousands," he said.
He pointed to the rapidly growing number of active cases, which stood at a record 123,636 on Monday. It is estimated that 30 percent of active cases require hospitalization.
Indonesia has recorded a total of 836,718 cases of coronavirus as of Monday, an increase of 8,692 cases on the figures the previous day.
At least 24,343 Covid-19 patients have died since the outbreak started.
The virus has killed more than 2,200 people this year, suggesting that January could have the highest death toll. At this point last month, there were around 1,566 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the Jakarta Globe tally.
The highest monthly death toll was 5,193 reported in December.
Jakarta is home to 25 percent of the overall coronavirus cases in the country, with a total of 208,583 confirmed cases. The capital city has been averaging 2,259 cases since New Year Holiday.
West Java has added 15,466 cases in the 11-day period for a total of 99,045. East Java comes next with a total of 93,405 cases, followed by Central Java with 92,764 cases.
The country's four most populous provinces have seen a dramatic surge in newly cases since late November. The average of daily numbers in West and Central Java now reaches a four-digit figure.
They account for 59 percent of the national tally and make up the vast majority of Covid-19 death toll.
East Java has recorded 70 more deaths in the day to take its total death toll to 6,511. Central Java has the second-highest number of Covid deaths with a total of 4,062.
Jakarta comes next with 3,516 deaths, a tiny percentage from its total number of confirmed cases. The official figure in Jakarta may not represent the actual number of fatalities as the national capital is running out of space to burry Covid victims.
West Java has recorded a total of 1,230 Covid deaths, the last province to have passed the 1,000 mark.
The virus is also spreading fasters in other hotspots like South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, Yogyakarta and Banten, where daily cases are topping 200.