The two drugs have evidently been sufficiently effective when administered in several countries for treating COVID-19 patients
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian government's decision to administer Chloroquine and a flu drug Avigan is part of its endeavors to save Indonesians from the infection of this new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a minister stated on Saturday.

"The two drugs have evidently been sufficiently effective when administered in several countries for treating COVID-19 patients," State Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir noted in a press statement made available to ANTARA here.

Indonesia's state-owned pharmaceutical industry PT Kimia Farma currently has in stock some three million chloroquine tablets. If one patient were to require some 50 tablets, then at least 60 thousand patients would be able to receive the tablets, he explained.

"If this chloroquine is evidently effective, PT Kimia Farma will produce it," Thohir remarked, adding that the state-owned enterprises would also be able to procure Avigan from Japan if the need for this flu drug were to arise.

His ministry and the Indonesian Embassy in Tokyo had put forth a demand to the Japanese producer of Avigan to provide the drug to Indonesia.

"At present, there is a demand for Avigan among many countries to treat their people diagnosed with COVID-19," he pointed out.

On Friday afternoon, President Joko Widodo had unveiled the government’s plan to administer these two drugs to treat its people diagnosed with COVID-19 and conduct rapid tests to expedite the detection of the virus.

The first rapid tests will be conducted in South Jakarta since several of its residents might have contracted the virus.

COVID-19, which initially struck in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December 2019, has killed at least 9,840 people and infected no less than 234,073 people in 176 countries and territories worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Indonesia, as of Friday, the virus had infected at least 369 people and claimed 32 lives, while 17 others had recovered and been discharged from hospitals. The percentage of Indonesia's death toll is the highest of those in other countries in Southeast Asia.

Taking into account the rising death toll and the spread of this virus, the WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic.

The Indonesian government has put in place precautionary measures since the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to installing thermal scanners at the country's airports and seaports as well as making preparations at hospitals across the archipelago, the Indonesian government has repatriated several hundred citizens.

On February 2, a total of 238 Indonesian nationals were airlifted from Wuhan, China, to be quarantined in Natuna District's Riau Islands Province. All these Indonesians were found to be healthy and were reunited with their families.

On March 2, 2020, President Jokowi announced that two Indonesians had tested positive for COVID-19. The number of infected confirmed by the government tended to rise steadily over the past days.

Related news: Building immunity key to fighting coronavirus : Government

Related news: 60 Indonesians reportedly on board coronavirus-hit cruise ship



Translator: Zubi M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020