Health Ministry urges ten provinces to increase COVID-19 testing

Health Ministry urges ten provinces to increase COVID-19 testing

A screenshot of spokesperson for the COVID-19 vaccination program of the Health Ministry, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, addressing a press conference on Wednesday (August 18, 2021). (ANTARA/Andi Firdaus/uyu)

However, we will continue to raise the target to reach 400 thousand tests per day.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Spokesperson for the COVID-19 vaccination program of the Health Ministry, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, has urged ten Indonesian provinces to intensify testing and tracing to detect transmission of the Delta variant as early as possible.

The 10 provinces are Aceh Darussalam, North Sumatra, West Java, Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua.

"Positivity and testing rates are important indicators in assessing the virus transmission. The WHO has recommended conducting COVID-19 testing for a minimal one person per one thousand population every week,” she said at an online press conference here on Thursday.

All provinces were able to meet the required testing rates last week, she noted. "However, we will continue to raise the target to reach 400 thousand tests per day," she added.

The jump in positive cases in Java and Bali several weeks ago should be a cause for concern for other regions, Tarmizi said.

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The government, on its part, has continued to carry out virus genome sequencing to monitor the transmission of the Delta variant in the country, she informed.

More than five thousand sequencing samples have been inspected with 80 percent of the results being the Delta variant as of August 18, 2021, she added.

Hence, the spokesperson urged the ten local governments to exercise caution by increasing testing and tracing to detect cases caused by the new variant.

She also encouraged other regions to remain vigilant as well.

According to Tarmizi, more than 60 thousand active cases have been recorded for more than 21 days, and that it was highly possible that the patients had either recovered or died.

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There might be over one thousand cases with outdated status in West Java, Central Java, Papua, North Sumatra, East Java, Maluku, and Central Kalimantan, she revealed.

Therefore, currently, the ministry is working with the regional governments to immediately update data, she said.

Meanwhile, the Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G Plate also asked local governments to actively coordinate with the central government in handling the pandemic.

In addition, he urged the optimization of the public vaccination program. The vaccines that have arrived in the regions should be administered immediately to the community, he said.

"We expect the herd immunity to be created immediately and hopefully, the pandemic can be controlled," he added.


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