Jakarta gears up for possible collapse of healthcare system

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With the worsening Covid-19 situation particularly observed after the gradual easing of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in June, bed occupancy rates – the number of people hospitalised with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 – in the city’s hospitals are increasing. POOL/AFP

The healthcare system in Jakarta is at risk of collapsing as hospitals are reporting “alarming” shortages of beds needed to treat Covid-19 patients.

On Wednesday, Jakarta recorded 1,026 new cases and 17 deaths – bringing the tally to 49,837 confirmed cases, 11,245 of which are active. About 4,554 active cases are hospitalised.

With the worsening Covid-19 situation particularly observed after the gradual easing of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in June, bed occupancy rates – the number of people hospitalised with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 – in the city’s hospitals are increasing.

The city’s isolation bed occupancy rate stood at 77 per cent and the intensive care unit (ICU) bed occupancy rate at 83 per cent as of Sunday. The city currently has 4,456 beds in isolation rooms and 483 beds in ICU rooms.

The Covid-19’s task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito recently said that 80 per cent of bed occupancy is considered a safe rate so that hospitals could carefully and promptly treat patients.

Jakarta also reported a positivity rate of 12.2 per cent for the past week, well over twice the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard of five per cent, after the city met the WHO’s minimum testing rate of one test per 1,000 people per week.

Jakarta recorded a positivity rate below five per cent a week before reopening the economy in June. The ratio gradually increased starting from the second week of July.

Despite the rising number of positive cases, Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan has extended the so-called transitional PSBB phase five times since June, with the latest being at the end of August. His move sparked concerns from experts who demanded he reinforce stricter social restrictions in the city.

A projection by researchers from Social Resilience Lab, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), in collaboration with the LaporCovid (Report Covid-19) community, shows that the healthcare system in Jakarta may collapse by the end of the year unless a massive intervention is made to curb transmission of the disease.

The modelling, which analysed data from August 1 until September 3 using the Gaussian equation, predicted up to 3,000 deaths by the end of October as more people requiring hospitalisation were unable to access treatment because hospitals had run out of beds, NTU researcher Fredy Tantri said.

He told a virtual press conference on Wednesday: “We developed the best- and worst-case scenarios for the next two months. The [worst-case scenario] model shows that the city’s healthcare capacity would be fully occupied in the fourth week of September.”

By Wednesday, Jakarta had reported a total of 1,347 deaths since the outbreak emerged.

Around 37 per cent of positive cases in Indonesia’s capital have shown medium to severe symptoms that require treatment in hospitals, prompting the Jakarta Health Agency to consider increasing bed capacity.

It is planning to allocate more beds in 13 city-owned hospitals for Covid-19 patients, add beds in 67 referral hospitals, as well as cooperate with private hospitals for additional referral hospitals, Jakarta Health Agency head Widyastuti said.

With the scheme, Jakarta will have an additional 851 beds, bringing the total number of beds for Covid-19 patients to 5,432 – comprising 4,807 isolation beds and 636 intensive care beds.

THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK