By the end of March, the health facilities will be ready
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy voiced President Jokowi’s directive to the TNI commander to improve health facilities on Galang Island in two weeks.

"The instruction was conveyed at a special meeting. By the end of March, the health facilities will be ready," he stated in Jakarta on Monday.

Effendy noted that preparing health facilities on Galang Island was part of the government’s precautionary measures against a worse-case scenario in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Hence, this called for the need for additional backup facilities.

"This is despite us already having two observation and quarantine sites, specifically on Natuna Island and Sebaru Island, currently being used to observe two groups," he stated.

Galang Island was earlier used as a place to accommodate Vietnamese refugees. Some facilities had been established.

Currently, the government is merely improving the existing facilities.

Speaking in connection with the readiness of medical personnel on Galang Island, the minister noted that the ranks of the health staff at the Indonesian Army will handle the matter.

The government is conducting improvements in health facilities on Galang Island, Batam, Riau Islands Province, to be used to treat epidemics, such as diseases, caused by the coronavirus or COVID-19.

During the 1979-1997 period, Galang Island served as a place for Vietnamese refugees after the civil war in the country. Facilities on Galang Island comprise refugee barracks, places of worship, hospitals, and schools.

The former Vietnamese refugee camp in Galang Island will not be developed as a hospital but rather as an isolation and observation center for infectious diseases, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono had earlier clarified.

"We will develop an observation center and not a hospital," Hadimuljono stated.

The minister noted that the observation center will handle infectious diseases, such as bird flu and COVID-19.
The government will renovate the building, earlier used as a hospital for Vietnamese refugees also called as the boat people, and offered supporting facilities, such as kitchen, laundry rooms, and office. The hospital was built by the United Nations.

In addition to the old building, the government will construct a new building that will serve as the isolation and observation center.

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Translator: M Zulfikar, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Sri Haryati
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