Indonesia races against time to build hospitals

Indonesia's government is in a race against time to contain the coronavirus, urgently building new hospitals on its islands and converting a massive stadium into a makeshift hospital.

The country of 260 million people is the fourth most-populous in the world.

But it is lacking enough hospital beds and medical staff leaving health experts worried that the country could become a new virus epicentre.

The country has confirmed over 600 cases so far, but doctors told Reuters the health system was already under strain.

One doctor said she had to wear a raincoat because there were no coveralls available.

Indonesia's health system ranks poorly, with only 12 beds and 4 doctors for every 10,000 people.

Compare that to the likes of South Korea that has six times the number of doctors for a country with only a fraction of Indonesia's population.

Indonesia's 19,000 islands spanning over 5,000 kilometers - also provide a massive geographic hurdle for the central government.

On one of the islands - Galang - all hands are on deck to get the walls up for phase one of a new hospital to be completed in just three days.

And in Bekasi, east of capital Jakarta, a stadium has been turned into a quasi-hospital with officials setting up beds and test stations in case local health institutes are overwhelmed.

As few as 2% of Indonesia's infections have been reported, according to the London-based Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases.