The Jakarta Post
The government plans to enlist the help of universities and other institutions to address the COVID-19 outbreak, which has officially been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
“The WHO’s designation is our main reference; the Health Ministry must have anticipated [this development]. The Executive Office of the President will invite representatives from universities, health communities and the public to resolve this issue,” Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko said at the State Palace in Central Jakarta on Thursday.
He went on to say that the government would no longer rely solely on the Health Ministry and health agencies for updates, but also actively engage health experts from a number of universities in its mitigation efforts.
The active involvement of medical scholars in concerted mitigation efforts will prove especially beneficial to the production of a vaccine, he added.
This is the latest step to involve more parties in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus. Last week, the Health Ministry said its regional labs would be in charge of testing people suspected of having the disease, to ease concerns that the ministry had not been proactive enough in detecting infected cases and preventing the spread of the disease.
The ministry previously insisted that only its Jakarta-based Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) was authorized to conduct throat swab tests and announce the results.
As of the time of writing, there have been 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia, resulting in one death. (rfa)