Sidoarjo, E Java (ANTARA) - Some 135 medical workers and officials of Siti Hajar Islamic Hospital in Sidoarjo District, East Java, wore hazmat suits, face masks, and face shields during a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate Indonesia's 75th anniversary on Monday.

Wearing the red and white hamzat suits during the commemorative event aimed to project a message to the public, at large, to remain sentient of the importance of following preventive measures as mandated in the government's health protocols.

"We want to send across a message of caution on the COVID-19 pandemic. We call on all community members to continue to practice preventive measures, such as wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance, and washing hands," the hospital's director, Hidayatullah, stated.

Hidayatullah noted that the hamzat suits, with colors symbolizing Indonesia's national flag, had been made two weeks prior to the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the country's Independence Day.

However, those hamzat suits were not solely worn for the commemorative event. In fact, the hospital's medical workers had been accustomed to wearing them while tending to COVID-19 patients, he stated.

Currently, the Islamic hospital offers 75 isolation wards for COVID-19 patients, he remarked, adding that none of the rooms were vacant.

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"We continue to issue a warning that the coronavirus pandemic is real. In order to address it, we all should abide by the health protocols to enable us to break the chain of COVID-19 outbreak. We must not ignore the reality, though we have inched towards a new normal," he emphasized.

As of August 16, the novel coronavirus disease had infected Sidoarjo District’s 4,143 residents, of which 243 had succumbed to the deadly virus.

Novel 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.

To tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia is leaving no stone unturned to develop a vaccine to fight the virus.

To this end, spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force Wiku Adisasmito echoed the government's aspirations to prioritize the triad of safety, precision, and speed in the domestic production of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We must say that in the development of this vaccine, the Indonesian government prioritizes three important aspects, with the first about it being safe; second, being precise; and third, being fast," Adisasmito emphasized in his recent statement.

Currently, Indonesian scientists are also working on a vaccine named after the country's national flag, Merah Putih (Red and White).

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Translator: Indra S, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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