8 Indonesian special cops test Covid-19 positive after handling jobs law protests as total tops 361,000


  • Indonesia
  • Sunday, 18 Oct 2020

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JAKARTA, Oct 18 (Jakarta Post/ANN): Eight special unit policemen who were deployed to handle rallies that broke out after the House of Representatives approved the Job Creation Law on Oct 5 have tested positive for Covid-19.

Demonstrations against the Job Creation Law has been held several times by students and workers alike, over the past two weeks.

"They are showing some symptoms such as loss of smell and slight fever," said Bekasi Police chief Sr. Comr. Hendra Gunawan, on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com.

Hendra said five of the police personnel took swab tests on Oct 11 after securing demonstrations against the Job Creation Law from Oct 5 to 8. Three other officers had swab tests on Oct 6 and tested positive for Covid-19.

Currently, tracing is being carried out to find out whether or not the police personnel contracted Covid-19 at the demonstration site.

On Sunday (Oct 18), the Health Ministry announced 4,105 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 361,867.

According to data released by the ministry on Sunday, 80 more people have died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 12,511.

The total number of recovered patients has also increased to 285,324.

The ministry added 22,421 people were tested on Sunday, bringing the total number of people tested to 2,528,319.

Within the past 24 hours, Jakarta recorded the highest number of 971 new cases.

Indonesia's case total and also the death toll is the highest in South-East Asia and also the Asian region.

People take part in a rally against a controversial new law which critics fear will favour investors at the expense of labour rights and the environment, in Jakarta on Oct 16, 2020. - AFPPeople take part in a rally against a controversial new law which critics fear will favour investors at the expense of labour rights and the environment, in Jakarta on Oct 16, 2020. - AFP

As for the cops being Covid-19 positive, Hendra said: "Some protesters might have forgotten to adhere to health protocols, especially when giving speeches or when talking, such as by removing their masks. They probably got infected there."

Hendra added that his party would conduct massive swab testing and implement stricter monitoring on adherence to health protocols.

"West Cikarang has already done mass swab testing. Serang Baru has also conducted mass swab tests," said Hendra.

The police also appealed to the masses who participated in the demonstrations to adhere to health protocols.

He also said there was a possibility that the police were tired after days of securing demonstrations, which could have weakened their immunity.

Previously, the national Covid-19 task force called on the National Police and the military to test personnel deployed to the Job Creation Law protests because protesters arrested in several regions had had reactive test results.

“We ask the police and the military to carry out Covid-19 tests on personnel who handled the jobs law protests last week,” task force spokesperson Wiku Adisasmito said last week.

Wiku highlighted the importance of rapid testing as a screening method to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further.

“If there are reactive results from the tests, we must immediately trace their contacts,” he said.

The task force received 123 reactive test results from protesters arrested in the six provinces so far.

The Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) previously warned of the possibility that new Covid-19 clusters would emerge from demonstrations against the Job Creation Law and noted the difficulty of tracing virus transmission that had resulted from the demonstrations that had taken place in many parts of the country. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

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