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Dozens contract COVID-19 in Sulawesi ‘earthquake cluster’

Limited supplies of personal protection equipment, such as N95 masks, evacuation camps that are not designed for a pandemic situation and poor attention to protocols are believed to have contributed to the high numbers.

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West Sulawesi Health Agency data shows there were 1874 active cases from a total 4232 cumulative cases and 83 cumulative deaths in the province on February 5. The agency did not provide details of the “earthquake cluster”. Nationally, Indonesia recorded 175,068 active cases on February 5 from 1.1 million total cases. The country has lost 31,001 people to the disease.

Helmiyadi, a medical volunteer who is also an orthopaedic surgeon, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald from Mamuju that many evacuees, volunteers and health workers had contracted COVID-19.

The chief of the operating room at the West Sulawesi regional hospital and his three staff members also tested positive.

Data from the national disaster mitigation agency shows the country is hoping to immunise 1,566,959 health workers — more than half have already received their jabs.

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