Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo said the new emergency hospital on Galang Island will be kept in readiness for treating COVID-19 cases and it will continue to handle infectious diseases and conduct research after the pandemic ends.

Jokowi also expressed the hope that the need for using the hospital to treat COVID-19 positive patients does not arise.

"We have planned and prepared everything. We hope it (more cases) does not happen, but at least we are ready," Jokowi said on Wednesday at the Galang Island Emergency Hospital, Batam, Riau Islands.

Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, Basuki Hadimuljono, and chief of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Lt. Gen Doni Monardo, accompanied Jokowi to the hospital.

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Construction of the hospital started 26 days ago, and the authorities plan to begin operations from Monday (April 6, 2020).

"Like at the Wisma Atlet (emergency hospital), we have prepared 2,400 beds. But, thank God, until now, only 400 (beds) have been used (at Wisma Atlet). Here, (there are) 360 beds, 20 ICU isolation beds and 30 non-ICU isolation beds. We hope they won't have to be used, but we have prepared them, anyway," the President remarked.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, the authorities plan to keep the hospital functional and use it to conduct research and handle infectious diseases.

"Once everything is over, we will use the hospital for treating infectious diseases and research," the President said.

The Galang Island Emergency Hospital will span 16 hectares and will be divided into three zones — Zone A will accommodate employees, doctors, and nurses; Zone B would include the main building, which would house an isolation room with 20 beds and an observation building with 340 beds and laboratories; and, Zone C will be used for non-ICU maintenance with 30 beds, ICU, and observation rooms. The emergency hospital will also have three helipads.

Indonesia has so far recorded 1,528 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 136 patients succumbing to the infection and 81 patients recovering from it.

The outbreak has spread to 31 provinces in the nation with Jakarta reporting 747 cases, West Java 198, Banten 142, East Java 93, Central Java 93, South Sulawesi 50, Yogyakarta 23, and East Kalimantan 20 cases.

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Translator: Desca LN, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2020