Jakarta (ANTARA) - Domestic businesses will soon start producing 16 thousand pieces of personal protective equipment, or PPEs, daily, and the gear would meet the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the Industry Minister.

The Industry Ministry, through its textile division, is cooperating with the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling, said Minister of Industry Agung Gumiwang Kartasasmita during a virtual press conference held on Wednesday after a limited meeting in Jakarta. The cooperation will be expanded to the Indonesian Textile Association, he informed.

“So, we have been able to produce PPEs according to WHO standards. In the near future, we will produce 16 thousand (PPEs) per day, " he said after a limited meeting led by President Joko Widodo, held via video conferencing, on optimizing the domestic industry for handling the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Personal protective equipment is the main protection for frontline medical workers at the vanguard of the battle against COVID-19. PPEs are the main requirement for paramedics.

Indonesia had experienced a shortage of PPE stockpiles, which had an adverse effect on the safety of doctors and medical personnel.

When the COVID-19 virus began to spread, many medical personnel and doctors were using unsuitable and inadequate protective gear such as disposable raincoats due to the shortage of PPEs.

While opening the limited meeting, the President said the availability of medical devices, medicines, and pharmaceutical raw materials must be ensured for now and for some time in the future. This also pertains to the availability of PPEs for doctors and medical personnel, he said.

Currently, 213 countries across the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries are in urgent need of medical devices and pharmaceutical goods.

President Jokowi asked ministers and heads of institutions to reevaluate all the potential resources of the domestic industry, such as the pharmaceutical raw material industry, the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) industry, masks, and ventilators.

"We must look back at all the potential resources that we have in our country, especially our domestic industry," Jokowi said.

The President also reiterated that exports of goods related to handling COVID-19 must be allowed selectively and domestic needs prioritized. In addition, the import of raw materials for making medical devices and pharmaceutical goods to handle COVID-19 must be facilitated, he added.

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Translator: Indra Arief Pribadi/Aria Cindy
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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