JAKARTA: Indonesia has turned its “Athlete’s Village” built for the 2018 Asian Games into an emergency hospital with a capacity to hold more than 4,000 patients, authorities said on Sunday (Mar 22), as coronavirus cases and deaths in the country rose. 

Four out of 10 towers in the Athlete’s Village, located in the country’s capital city, have been converted into a medical facility that would house more than 7,000 people, including a coronavirus task force, medical staff and up to 4,208 patients.

“The ministry of state-owned enterprises will provide supplies for the emergency hospital to handle COVID-19, be it healthcare equipment, medicine, personal protection gear and masks,” the minister of state-owned enterprises, Erick Thohir, said in a statement.

READ: Thousands of Muslim pilgrims gather in Indonesia amid COVID-19 fears

On Saturday, Indonesia confirmed 81 new cases and 6 more deaths due to the virus, bringing the total number of cases to 450 and deaths to 38. Indonesia has the highest coronavirus death toll in Southeast Asia.

The governor of Jakarta declared a state of emergency in the Indonesian capital for the next two weeks over the outbreak.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, has faced criticism from medical workers for a slow start to testing in an archipelago that stretches wider than the continental United States.

READ: Indonesia transport minister tests positive for COVID-19

Depending on how the coronavirus spreads in Indonesia, authorities can convert more towers in the Athlete’s Village into medical facilities, officials said.

“If all 10 towers are used, then 20,000 patients can be accommodated,” a ministry of public works and housing spokesman told Reuters.

The ratio of the number of dead to the number of recorded cases in Indonesia at 8.7 per cent is among the highest in the world – even higher than 8.3 per cent in Italy. Medical experts say it is a likely indicator that many cases have gone undetected.

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