Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has been hospitalized in Jakarta after he contracted coronavirus, a government official said on Saturday, the most high-profile case so far to be confirmed in the Southeast Asian country.
Earlier on Saturday, Jakarta’s governor said the city will close all schools for at least two weeks to curb the spread of coronavirus, as the first cases were also reported in other parts of the archipelago.
Sumadi’s family had given approval for the announcement after the minister had been on “the front line and a very important part of containing the impact of COVID-19”, Pratikno, who is state secretary in charge of administrative support for the office of president, told a news conference.
The condition of Sumadi, 63, who had attended a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, was showing an improvement, said Albertus Budi Sulistya, deputy head of the Gatot Soebroto Hospital.
“He was initially being treated for other illnesses in a private hospital until he had difficulty breathing, then some medical equipment had to be brought in,” said Sulistya.
The transport minister had sat in a room with number of ministers and the army head during the cabinet meeting earlier this week, which was also attended by President Joko Widodo.
CASES ACROSS ARCHIPELAGO
While most confirmed coronavirus cases have been clustered in Jakarta, cases were also reported on Saturday in cities in western and central Java, Manado on Sulawesi island and Pontianak on Borneo island.
Doni Monardo, who leads Indonesia’s task force on coronavirus, said testing will be increased and struggling medical staff will be assisted by medical students and volunteers.
“What must be done right now is to reduce interactions between residents,” Baswedan said, urging people to stay at home and not travel unless necessary.
Indonesia confirmed its first cases of the virus only last week while some countries in the region had reported scores of cases far earlier, raising concerns among medical experts about infections either not being reported or going undetected.
The central government has faced criticism for withholding information regarding the spread of the virus.