Papua's 52 paramedics contract COVID-19 infection

Papua's 52 paramedics contract COVID-19 infection

Illustration: A medical worker in Papua. ANTARA/ Ernes Kakisina

Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Some 52 paramedics in Papua Province got infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but most of them fully recovered, spokesman of the Papua provincial administration's COVID-19 Task Force Silwanus Sumule stated.

Several of those infected medical workers are still under hospitalization, Sumule told journalists in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Sunday evening.

Sumule sought complete honesty and transparency from local community members on their health condition to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to paramedics on the frontlines in the fight against the outbreak.

The spokesman stressed on the pressing need for the locals to adopt a disciplined approach in applying healthcare protocols, for instance, by wearing face masks while venturing outdoors, washing hands, and practicing physical and social distancing measures.

In the meantime, Head of the Jayapura city health center Ni Nyoman Sri Antari pointed to health centers being forcibly shut down after their medical workers were diagnosed with COVID-19 symptoms.

So far, 45 medical workers are symptomatic with COVID-19, of which five had tested positive for the presence of the deadly virus that initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 and then spread to the rest of the world.

"These five medical workers are currently treated at a local hospital, while 40 others are being quarantined while awaiting further medical examinations," Antari revealed.

Papua is one of Indonesia's provinces that has ceaselessly endeavored to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

As of June 5, Papua Province recorded 929 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 286 recoveries and 14 deaths. Meanwhile, currently, at least 629 COVID-19 patients are still admitted at local hospitals.

A 50-year-old police officer succumbed to the disease. Sumule stated that the policeman was the first COVID-19 inpatient without co-morbidities to have died of the infection.

"We have thoroughly checked the deceased's medical records and are convinced that his death was unrelated to co-morbidities," he stated, adding that several other police officers had tested positive for COVID-19, but most of them had fully recovered.

In handling COVID-19 cases, medical workers in Papua have stayed on alert for the security threat posed by armed Papuan rebels.

On May 22, 2020, armed rebels reportedly shot two medical workers — Almalek Bagau and Eunico Somou — from the Wandai Health Center in Intan Jaya District while they were delivering drugs for COVID-19 patients.

Inspector General Paulus Waterpauw condemned the attack saying that it could not be justified on any ground.

Coronavirus infections initially surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Since then, COVID-19 has spread to over 215 countries and territories, including 34 provinces of Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll.

The Indonesian government officially confirmed the country's first cases on March 2 this year.

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