Indonesia to ramp up COVID-19 testing with 78 additional labs

Indonesia to ramp up COVID-19 testing with 78 additional labs

File photo: Head of Indonesia's Task Force for Acceleration of COVID-19 Response, Doni Monardo, speaks to the press in Jakarta on March 23, 2020. (ANTARA FOTO/Aditya Pradana Putra/aa/gtm)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's COVID-19 task force will ramp up coronavirus testing by increasing capacity at 78 laboratories as there were just three such labs when the first case was reported in the country, an official said.

"We'd like to strengthen our labs' capacity for testing (for) coronavirus,” head of the Task Force for Acceleration of COVID-19 Response, Doni Monardo, said today at a press conference in Jakarta.

At least 25 laboratories have so far been utilized for coronavirus testing, he added.

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Some ministries, including the Health Ministry, the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry, the Research and Technology Ministry/the National Innovation and Research Agency (BRIN), will help the task force expand testing in Indonesia, Monardo informed.

Since the time the task force was established on March 13, less than two weeks after the first two coronavirus cases were detected, the special unit has distributed at least 800,000 rapid test kits, 725,000 pieces of protective gear, 13 million surgical masks, and 150,000 N95 surgical masks to medical workers in hospitals across the country.

The task force has also prepared 635 hospitals and 1,515 isolation rooms for patients presenting with severe symptoms and in critical condition. In addition, the authority has utilized two emergency hospitals for COVID-19 in Wisma Atlet, Jakarta and Pulau Galang island, Riau Islands Province, with a capacity of 2,000 patients and 400 patients, respectively.

Patients with acute health conditions remain a priority for emergency hospitals as "patients with mild symptoms can be treated at home”, Monardo pointed out.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has risen to 4,839 as of April 14, with 459 patients succumbing to the infection. Of the total patients, 426 have made a complete recovery. 

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