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Dentists in Indonesia are dying from COVID-19

Indonesian media outlets have reported that dentists in the country are closing their practices out of fear of becoming infected with COVID-19. (Image: riza azhari/Shutterstock)
Jeremy Booth, DTI

Jeremy Booth, DTI

Thu. 16. April 2020


JAKARTA, Indonesia: The Indonesian Medical Association has confirmed that 24 medical professionals have died in the country from COVID-19, six of whom were dentists. Not all of those who died were working on the front line in the battle against the illness. The government’s COVID-19 response team has called on the health ministry to protect doctors and dentists by advising them to close their practices.

According to the Jakarta Post, Doni Monardo, head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), said that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among doctors and medical workers was increasing. During a virtual meeting of the House of Representatives on 6 April, Doni said: “More than 20 of our doctors have died [from COVID-19]. Some of them were apparently not on the front line. Some of them were dentists and ENTs.” He said that the BNPB had asked the health ministry to instruct dentists and otolaryngologists to close their practices for the time being. “If they do practise, it should only be for patients who are seriously [ill],” he urged.

The Indonesian Dental Association (PDGI) has not advised dentists in the country to close their practices or to postpone non-emergency treatment, unlike national dental associations in a score of other countries, such as China, Pakistan, India, Canada, Italy and the U.S. Instead, it has urged dentists—particularly those aged over 60—to reduce their working hours and has asked the public not to visit their dentist during the outbreak unless they require urgent care.

Dr Sri Hananto Seno, chair of the PDGI, acknowledged to the newspaper that dental procedures leave dentists and dental hygienists particularly vulnerable to contracting the illness. Hananto said that most dentists had heeded the advice and that only around 30% of dentists in the Jakarta area were still practising in hospitals in order to treat emergency cases.

Indonesia had only conducted 450 SARS-CoV-2 tests by 6 March—significantly fewer than other South East Asian nations—and the country was slow to report any confirmed cases of the illness. This had led to suspicions from within the international community that the government of the populous archipelago was not carrying out enough tests and that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was spreading unchecked.

By 16 April, there were 5,136 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia and 469 people had died from the illness, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

8 thoughts on “Dentists in Indonesia are dying from COVID-19

  1. Dr.ZISHAN ALI KHAN says:

    Drs looking to joil live webinars on dental subjects can get in touch.

  2. Lori says:

    Dental Hygienists are the highest risk for exposure too.

  3. JAMAL .M. EL-SWIAH says:

    First I wish safety and health to our people and colleagues in Indonesia .
    As it is known to all, most of the published reports indicated the possibility of the pandemic COVID-19 virus to affect the world for a longer time, and this requires medical and dental personnel to prepare themselves to deal with this pandemic professionally. As according to WHO reports, it has been become very clear that among healthcare professionals, dentists and their assistants are the most exposed category to the risk of such infection as the routes of transmission are the close physical contact with the patients, droplets and aerosol; therefore, the necessity of providing strict clear guidelines has suddenly arisen nationwide

  4. Alma R. Pasturan says:

    I want to join the webinar.. keep safe.stay home..

  5. Alma R. Pasturan says:

    I want to join the webinar.. keep safe everyone.. stay home

  6. Ashek Elahi Noor says:

    Innahlillah hi winnahhi rajwon. May Allah give them Jannatul Ferdous.Very very sad news for all of us as well as our Dental Professionals who are particularly involved in dealings with patients and people in the comunity and also sad news for the Indonesian Government who is mainly responsible for this crime.Onec up on a time they, the Indonesian Government has to face the cruel truth in near future from Allah

  7. Dr Jovy DMD says:

    Its too risky to practice dentistry right now . Being exposed to droplets as you are engaged to treat the oral cavity itself. A serious protocol must be considered by the Dental Association to regulate the dental practice during this pandemic.

  8. Dr. Sukhbir Singh Oberoi says:

    Keep social distancing . Avoid procedure like scaling & use of air rotar. Handle only emergencies & pain managements

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