Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister (Menkes) Terawan Agus Putranto pointed to the opportunities arising for the domestic pharmaceutical industry from the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) that hit China.

"The outbreak of Covid-19 has left us with no choice but to fight. China does not produce, so then trade decreases. The situation presents an opportunity for domestic pharmaceutical industries to strengthen their position," the minister explained during a visit to the Dexa research facility in Cikarang, West Java, on Friday.

The Covid-19 outbreak that occurred in China, since the end of 2019 until February 21, has infected 76,718 people in 28 countries and killed 2,247, mostly in mainland China. The outbreak compelled China to isolate several cities, triggering the cessation of factory operations, including pharmaceutical firms.

This condition affects Indonesia that imports most pharmaceutical raw materials from China.

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However, the health minister stated that the supply of Indonesian pharmaceutical raw materials would still suffice, and the government has encouraged the development of domestic pharmaceutical raw material production to reduce dependence on other countries.

"The most important aspect, as I have seen earlier, from our exposure, is that our supplies are sufficient. The most important point to be noted here is that raw materials originating from Indonesia are constantly driven to increase," he stated, adding that the government was striving to overcome the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Putranto had earlier revealed that strict monitoring was being conducted on the flow of people at 135 entry points into Indonesia to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The government has also established cooperation with other countries where Covid-19 positive cases were reported, the minister stated.

"We are also working with the ministry and immigration office of Singapore. They give a warning of infected citizens. Moreover, Singapore is not an epicenter," he noted, adding that the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Covid-19 epicenter is only mainland China.

Currently, 78 Indonesian citizens are being quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship along with some 3,700 passengers and crew, in Japan’s waters. The ship is home to the highest number of COVID-19 cases outside China.

"We are awaiting the results of the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). If the results of the examination are negative, I will go there to check and pick them up," Terawan stated. The ship's 78 crew members from Indonesia have not been infected by the virus.

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Translator: Prisca Triferna, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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