Indonesia to distribute Covid-19 test kits, targets 300,000 tests monthly

A health worker takes a blood sample for a Covid-19 test in Bogor, West Java, on April 7. - Reuters

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN): Indonesia's Covid-19 Task Force plans to distribute equipment for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to 12 of the country’s 34 provinces to help detect the virus, the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Ministry has said.

The regions that will receive the test kits are Jakarta, West Java, Banten, Central Java, East Java, Bali, Lampung, South Sumatra, North Sumatra, East Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Papua.

“The test kits should be operated in a standardised virology lab with negative-pressure rooms such as in hospitals, ” SOEs Minister Erick Thohir's aide Arya Mahendra Sinulingga said on Wednesday (April 8).

Indonesia, one of the many countries scrambling to procure coronavirus testing equipment, purchased the test kits from Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche.

With a total of 18 PCR detectors and two RNA automatic extractors, the country is now expected to be able to test 5,000 to 10,000 samples a day.

“Therefore, we could test 300,000 a month, ” he said.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Agus Wibowo said medical facilities would be able to expedite Covid-19 detection and optimise the recovery processes of patients to put a stop to the transmission of the disease.

Health authorities in Indonesia have tested more than 15,000 samples so far.

As of Wednesday, the government had recorded 2,956 cases nationwide with 240 fatalities. - The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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