The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is to fly military aircraft to the Chinese city of Shanghai on Saturday to pick up medical equipment to help those on the front lines of the Southeast Asian country's battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Indonesian Military (TNI) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Sisriadi said they were to send a Hercules C-130 aircraft with 18 crew members from the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base in East Jakarta.
"We are hoping the operation will run smoothly," Sisriadi told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
The operation was a response to Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto's request for the TNI to provide military aircraft to transport the medical kits from China's largest city to Indonesia, which is currently struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 disease.
The equipment includes disposable masks, N-95 masks, protective clothing, goggles, gloves, shoe covers, infrared thermometers and surgical caps.
Defense Ministry spokesperson Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak said Prabowo's request to use military aircraft to transport the equipment was meant to ease intergovernmental bureaucratic processes.
“The G-to-G bureaucratic process will be faster [that way] compared to using other facilities, so we can immediately aid the fast-response team for COVID-19 as instructed by President Joko ['Jokowi'] Widodo,” Dahnil said in a written statement on Thursday.
The equipment would also be used by a joint medical team from the ministry and the military to support the fast-response team and doctors in their efforts to deal with the coronavirus cases in the country, he said.
Indonesia has continued to experience a rise in the number of COVID-19 coronavirus infections since the country recorded its first confirmed cases earlier this month.
As of Friday, a total of 369 people have been infected in the archipelago and at least 32 cases were fatal.
Medical workers are facing increasing strain as reports surface that some referral hospitals have nearly run out of protective equipment as they scramble to deal with the virus.
Indonesia is also ready to welcome offers from foreign countries to assist the archipelago in obtaining COVID-19 rapid testing kits as the government tries to gain a clearer view of the coronavirus' spread in the country.
The Foreign Ministry’s director for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Santo Darmosumarto, said they were now considering offers from some foreign allies, including China and Singapore, to donate testing kits. (glh)