Jokowi calls to cut inter-regional disparity in COVID-19 test capacity

Jokowi calls to cut inter-regional disparity in COVID-19 test capacity

Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) reminded his ranks to act promptly in lowering inter-regional disparity in terms of the capacity of COVID-19 tests conducted.

"With regard to testing, I have told you that inter-regional disparity in the COVID-19 testing capacity should be minimized immediately," the head of state noted in his introduction at a limited meeting of the Committee on the Handling of COVID-19 and National Economic Recovery in Jakarta, Monday.

The head of state reminded that a situation should not arise wherein the number of COVID-19 tests conducted in some provinces is too high, while low numbers are still clocked in other provinces.

"The figure reaches 324 thousand in DKI Jakarta, 184 thousand in East Java, 162 thousand in Central Java, 144 thousand in West Java, and still below 100 thousand in other provinces," he pointed out.

On the occasion, the president also called for stepping up discipline among his ranks in implementing health protocols, particularly pertaining to the use of masks and maintaining physical distancing.

President Jokowi had earlier instructed the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) to formulate a plan for conducting COVID-19 tests and detecting transmission of the virus in all provinces.

"With regard to testing, I urge the Ministry of Health to outline a really good design plan," the president noted at a plenary cabinet session on “Health Management and Economic Recovery for Strengthening Reform of 2021” at the state palace here on Monday.

"The COVID-19 testing capacity varies across provinces, ranging from very high in some to still very low in others. The planning design must be truly comprehensive," Jokowi noted at a cabinet meeting, with attendees comprising Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, ministers, and state officials.

The president explained that the plan to implement comprehensive COVID-19 testing should encompass data collection and preparation of examination laboratories in each province as well as the provision of inspection facilities across all provinces.

"We need planning to gain a better understanding of which region or province has positive cases, and this lab network strategy is important and not based on administrative areas. The design for planning must really exist and be prepared," he elaborated.

The president affirmed that the government was prioritizing the handling of COVID-19-triggered health problems since if handled properly, then economic activities can be restored quickly.

"We want to restart as soon as possible in the economic sector. Ensure that the COVID-19 matter is not handled improperly. This is also very dangerous," the head of state remarked. Related news: Jokowi urges to not be hasty in enforcing regional lockdown
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