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Jakarta Post

West Java to test those without COVID-19 symptoms as cases rise

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Mon, March 16, 2020   /   03:36 pm
West Java to test those without COVID-19 symptoms as cases rise Officers spray disinfectant liquid in the waiting room of Bandung Station, West Java, Sunday (03/15/2020). (Antara/ Novrian Arbi)

As confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increase in Indonesia, the West Java administration has moved to proactively test those who are suspected of having the virus but do not display symptoms.

The West Java Health Laboratory – which is the nation's referral center for tuberculosis – will conduct the tests in coordination with Padjadjaran University’s Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology and the Bandung Institute of Technology’s Laboratory of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said the laboratories were at “biosafety level two” on Sunday.

He added that proactive COVID-19 tests would be prioritized for people under monitoring, identified as those who were possibly carrying the virus but showed no symptoms.

“We will prioritize the cluster of paramedics who treated [COVID-19] positive patients and then potentially exposed foreign workers in Karawang. We will also test the families of the patients so we will be able to detect [the virus]," he said. "Hopefully, none of them will test positive."

Ridwan said the administration had purchased the COVID-19 test kits in February from a neighboring country "with a good relations" with Indonesia since well-proven testing kits were not yet obtainable domestically.

He said the test kits produced results within five hours, so medical workers would be able to respond swiftly to any cases.

As of Sunday, Indonesia had recorded 117 confirmed COVID-19 cases and five deaths from the disease. Eight people have recovered after receiving medical treatment, according to the government.

The cases are spread across the country's provinces, including Jakarta, Yogyakarta, West Java, Central Java, Banten, Bali, North Sulawesi and West Kalimantan.

The West Java administration has allocated two waves of funding for coronavirus response from the regional disaster management fund, one of Rp 24 billion (US$1.6 million) and the other of Rp 50 billion.

The allocations prioritize health equipment procurement, including self-protection equipment and respiratory aids, which will be distributed to hospitals across the province.

“One third of the funds are for purchasing test kits, which will be used [to test] thousands of asymptomatic [people]. When there is an escalation, we can immediately check them,” said Ridwan. (syk)

If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link: [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak