The expert was in medical teams responding to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal
In what appears to be an ironic eponymous case, an emergency medicine expert, named Dr Corona Rintawan, has been chosen to spearhead the containment process of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Indonesia.
Muhammadiyah, the country’s second-largest Muslim organization, last week appointed Dr Rintawan to head an interdisciplinary taskforce, with 13 experts, it set up, reports Arab News.
The Muhammadiyah Covid-19 Command Center (MCCC) was set up to consolidate all Muhammadiyah assets in an integrated effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, Rintawan told Arab News on Thursday.
The MCCC will work on educating the public on how to stop the spread of the new coronavirus strain, which, according to worldomete, has killed over 7,000 people so far around the world.
According to Arab News, Corona Rintawan’s emergency experience includes participating in medical teams responding to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. He also took part in a humanitarian mission for the Rohingyas in Myanmar in 2017.
Asked about his name, the 45-year-old doctor said his parents named their children in alphabetical order. Being the third, his name had to start with “c.”
“There was no such thing as baby name books at that time, so they decided to take my name from the Toyota Corona car, which was a popular model back in the 1970s, and as they also found that it means a crown, which symbolizes something good,” he said.
Talking about their plan to tackle the pandemic, Rintawan said: “We are taking a proactive approach to assist the government in early diagnoses or early treatment for patients that show initial symptoms of infection.”
He added: “We will ensure that such patients will receive treatment in accordance with the health protocol that the government has issued for the outbreak, before we refer them to government hospitals should they need further treatment.”
Rintawan, who is based at a Muhammadiyah-run hospital in Lamongan, East Java, said: “The public has to be well-informed that they could carry the risk of spreading the virus.
“We want to encourage the people to take the initiative to prevent it, by washing their hands often, getting themselves diagnosed should they feel they have symptoms, knowing when they have to wear face masks, donating masks to those who need them and eventually to self-isolate when necessary.”
He added that it was about self-containment by one person who is aware of the situation and knows what to do to take care of oneself in the face of virus threats. “It could create a positive domino effect in terms of reducing the potential to contract others with the virus.”
Since the outbreak started in China’s Wuhan city in late December last year, Covid-19 has infected more than 179,800 people in 162 countries and territories, according to worldometer.
Indonesia not considering lockdown
Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday said the authorities were not now considering imposing a lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, as the leader, his wife and a number of ministers awaited the results of tests for the virus, reports Reuters.
The world's fourth most populous country has reported a spike in cases with the number of confirmed infections hitting 134, while five people have died.
Jakarta and several other provinces and cities have already announced school closures starting this week, and civil servants and some companies are asking staff to work from home.
Widodo told a televised briefing at the presidential palace in Bogor that “up to now we are not considering anything in the direction of lockdown.”
He said measures to tackle the virus would be calibrated to ensure they did not “exacerbate the economic impact that can harden the people's lives.”
At a separate press conference in the capital Jakarta, three patients who had recovered from the coronavirus were presented to reporters as evidence that the disease passes.
Some neighbouring countries have been taking far more aggressive steps, including the Philippines, which has put half the population on lockdown.
On Saturday, Indonesian Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi was confirmed to be suffering from Covid-19 after attending a cabinet meeting last week led by Widodo.
Several ministers have said they had tested negative but, when questioned about his result, the president told reporters to ask his doctor.
Asked how mainly Muslim Indonesia would manage during the holy month of Ramadan starting in late April if the outbreak peaked then, Widodo said the state procurement agency had been told to ensure stocks of basic needs and private hospitals could also assist state hospitals.
Indonesia confirmed 17 new coronavirus cases on Monday, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said, with 14 in Jakarta, where most have been clustered.
Indonesia's central bank said in a statement that banknotes and coins would be disinfected before redistribution as a precaution against the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Indonesia confirmed its first cases of the virus on March 2, 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.