05/04/2020, 17.02
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West Sulawesi: protests over infected doctor

by Mathias Hariyadi

​The neighbours of a doctor under self-isolation blocked the road to his house, demanding he be quarantined in a hospital. The latest incident highlights the growing intolerance towards healthcare professionals who test positive for the coronavirus. Eyewitness talked to AsiaNews about the climate of hostility. So far, at least 24 medical doctors and 13 nurses have died in the pandemic.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Another healthcare professional was the victim of an act of intolerance after he tested positive to the coronavirus virus in the hospital where he works.

Last Friday, the medical doctor self-isolated himself at his home in Polewali (West Sulawesi province), but his neighbours (pictured) took to the streets to protest against his presence, telling him to isolate himself in a hospital.

Asrianto, a protest leader, said he was afraid of getting infected. "My house Is just 50 metres from his.” Although he tried to calm fellow protesters to avoid things turning ugly after they blocked the road leading to the doctor's house, he asked the latter to go the hospital for quarantine.

Acts of intolerance have occurred as panic spread across the country. One of the casualties of the pandemic was the traditional mudik festival. In mid-April, the burial of a nurse in the cemetery of a Central Java village sparked opposition.

A doctor spoke to AsiaNews about the problem. Like other healthcare workers, she and her husband, also a medical practitioner, experienced hostility during their convalescence. Still, during this period, “I recovered my strength, taking some medicines and vitamins”.

Both likely caught the virus from patients who were unaware of being infected or from those who did not disclose their condition fearing the quarantine, of being isolated from the world and their loved ones, family and home. This, unfortunately, means that the chain of contagion does not stop.

A nun in Kalimantan said that she chose self-isolation at the general house after coming into contact with an infected person. A trained nurse working in a remote area of ​​the province, she had to travel over six hours from her home to the place chosen for quarantine.

“I isolated myself from others,” she said. “Food and drink were left outside my room without contacts or talking with the outside.”

So far, at least 24 healthcare workers, including doctors and interns, have died due to COVID-19 in Indonesia. Thirteen of the dead are 13 nurses. Most deaths are related to fatigue and excess work.

In total, almost 12,000 cases have been reported in the country with 860 deaths.

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