Now, free, regular COVID-19 tests for healthcare workers

Now, free, regular COVID-19 tests for healthcare workers

Healthcare workers prepare to conduct swab tests on local residents identified via contact-tracing of a COVID-19 patient.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government will provide free swab tests routinely to healthcare workers handling coronavirus patients, according to the Task Force for COVID-19 Response.

"The COVID-19 task force is committed to providing protection to healthcare workers, who are the last guard in handling COVID-19, by providing free swab tests to them on a regular basis," Wiku Adisasmito, spokesperson for the task force, said at an online press conference at the Presidential Office here on Tuesday.

Free swab tests will be carried out starting Tuesday for healthcare workers in the Greater Jakarta (Jabodetabek) area.

"Furthermore, we will also carry out free swab tests in other provinces, especially in the red zone regions (with high risk of) of COVID-19 (transmission),” he added.

The task force is encouraging healthcare workers handling COVID-19 to participate in the program.

"So that it really can make early detection (possible) and reduce the potential of further spread (of the virus) to other health workers," he explained.

He also said the task force has urged all regions to increase the number of COVID-19 tests.

"Several regions in Indonesia, such as Jakarta and other areas, have exceeded the WHO standard. Currently, the testing of specimens per day is around 40,000; this is in September, which is much higher compared to August," he noted.

Meanwhile, efforts are being made to boost testing capacity in areas that are yet to meet WHO standards, especially in nine priority provinces.

The nine priority provinces are Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Papua, and Bali. So far, only Jakarta has met the testing standards set by the WHO.

On Tuesday (September 22, 2020), Indonesia added 4,071 COVID-19 infections, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 252,923. So far, 184,298 patients have recovered from the infection across the nation, while 9,837 have succumbed to it. 

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