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Jakarta Post

RNI awaits Health Ministry's authorization to import 500,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits from China

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, March 18, 2020   /   08:34 pm
RNI awaits Health Ministry's authorization to import 500,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits from China Reports of patients in referral hospitals having to wait a long time to get tests or treatment for possible infections have surfaced recently, as hospitals face increasing strain as they attempt to handle the virus. (Shutterstock/danielmarin)

State-owned diversified manufacturer PT Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI) is waiting for the green light from the Health Ministry to import 500,000 COVID-19 rapid testing kits from China as Indonesia scrambles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

RNI submitted the import request to the Health Ministry on March 10, State-Owned Enterprises Ministry spokesman Arya Sinulingga said on Wednesday.

“If the process is completed, we will immediately send a Garuda [Indonesia airplane] to Hangzhou to pick up the kits. The logistical process will only take two days,” he said.

Once the test kits arrive, Arya said state-owned enterprises would distribute them to hospitals across the country so that authorities could do more tests and gain a clearer view of the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

Reports of patients in referral hospitals having to wait a long time to get tests or treatment for possible infections have surfaced recently, as hospitals face increasing strain as they attempt to handle the virus.

Read also: Think you have COVID-19? Here's how to get tested in Indonesia

Indonesia had identified 227 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths as of Wednesday. Globally, the pneumonia-like illness has infected more than 200,000 people and killed at least 8,007, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“The rapid testing kits will only need 15 minutes to three hours to show the results. If there’s a sign that someone is infected, they can go to the doctor for further tests,” Arya said.

RNI has imported raw materials from India to manufacture medical masks while seeking to also import materials from France, China and Japan.

“According to RNI’s report, [the raw materials] from India have arrived. We also sought to import them from Japan but they have a limited stock and we couldn’t import from France as they’re in a total lockdown,” he said.

Two million medical masks will be produced by RNI and other mask manufacturers in the country. The masks will be distributed by state-owned pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma and provincial and local administrations. (mpr)