Covid-19 patients in Merauke hospital failed to join election

A number of Covid-19 patients who were undergoing treatment at the Merauke Regional General Hospital (RSUD Merauke), were not allowed to participate in exercising their voting rights during the 2020 Regional Election.

Head of the General Election Commission (KPU) of Merauke Regency, Theresia Mahuze, said that earlier the commission had communicated with the director of the hospital, Yenni Mahuze, on how to facilitate Covid-19 patients in casting the ballots.

“Previously, we had coordinated with the hospital’s director to accommodate the patients to vote. The medical team would help the local poll administrators (KPPS), so as to avoid direct contact (with the Covid-19 patients),” Theresia said on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

Despite undertaking this step, however, the hospital did not respond at all. The election commission’s inquiry for data of Covid-19 being hospitalized there was not answered.

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However, patients with medical problems other than Covid-19 were allowed to vote. They were served by the local poll administrators from TPS 2 polling station in Karang Indah Subdistrict.

“There were around 30 non-Covid-19 patients joining the voting at the hospital, with the assistance of our officers from Karang Indah polling station and representatives from the election monitoring body,” she said.

She further explained that based on the monitoring of the election commission, the voting in all polling stations in her area implemented health protocols. Every voter who came to the polling station to cast the ballots was first undergoing a temperature check, as well as wearing masks and gloves.

“All of our officers in every polling station were equipped with personal protective gear while carrying out their duties,” she said.

The local poll administrators who were on duty have previously undergone rapid tests, with some of their test results found to be reactive for Covid-19.

“We cooperated with Community Health Centers (Puskesmas) in all districts to serve the officers in undergoing rapid tests. We found that five of the local poll administration officers had reactive results and they were immediately quarantined before the voting day.”

Head of the local poll administrators of KPPS 13 in Mandala Subdistrict, Thimotius Batyamlean, said that seven officers and two security personnel in the subdistrict were equipped with face shields, masks, gloves and antiseptic liquid. He also ensured that every voter underwent body temperature check and was provided with masks and gloves.

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