Jakarta — As many as 115 Indonesian doctors have died of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), since the country reported the first confirmed COVID-19 case in March 2020. The doctors comprised 57 general practitioners, 51 specialists and seven professors,, according to the updated data from the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) mitigation team for the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday.

By Friday (Sept 11), the number of doctors dying of the COVID-19 stood at 109. With the addition of six doctors succumbing to the virus, the number increased to 115, excluding dentists and nurses dying of the virus. Chief of the IDI mitigation team dr Adib Khumaidi, SpOT said the doctors were exposed to the virus while treating COVID-19 patients.

115 Indonesian doctors die of COVID-19
The body of Miftah Fawzy Sarengat who died of COVID-19 was seen off at the Medical School of Airlangga University in Surabaya on June 10, 2020 (Photo: ANTARA/HO-FK Unair Surabaya)

“The doctors were exposed to the virus while treating COVID-19 patients in treatment wards (isolation rooms and intensive care units) and taking medical action to patients who were later found to have contracted COVID-19,” he said.

In addition, they were likely exposed to the virus through non-medical services such as close contact with family members and other people, he said. The data suggested that doctors run the high risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Moreover, the number of asymptomatic carriers in Indonesia is also high, he said.

He urged the government to take firm action against violators of the health protocols by imposing sanctions on them in accordance with Presidential Instruction No. 6/2020. On the other hand, state apparatuses also have to set a good example to other people by following the health protocols in carrying out their daily activities, he added.

The government has called on all Indonesians to exercise discipline in terms of wearing face masks, washing hands, and maintaining social and physical distancing to ensure that hospitals and paramedics do not get overwhelmed by a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Medical personnel would be overburdened if they had to handle an increasing number of infected people. Hence, all members of communities must contribute to efforts to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission, presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman noted in a statement released recently.