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Jakarta Post

Laboratory for COVID-19 tests now available in Central Java

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Salatiga, Central Java   /   Thu, March 26, 2020   /   04:40 pm
Laboratory for COVID-19 tests now available in Central Java A clinical pathologist at Surabaya’s Agriculture Quarantine Center conducts a laboratory test on samples of patients suspected to have been infected with the coronavirus. The fight against the virus requires collaboration across various disciplines. (Antara/Umarul Faruq)

A laboratory in Central Java has been authorized by the Health Ministry to independently carry out COVID-19 tests on patients’ samples, allowing for a faster process of identifying cases of infection in the province.

The institution, the Center for Research and Development of Vector and Reservoir Diseases (B2P2VRP) in Salatiga, can examine up to 40 samples per day. 

Now that an authorized laboratory is present, Central Java will no longer have to send samples of patients to laboratories in Yogyakarta or Jakarta.

The center’s head, Joko Waluyo, explained that the laboratory was equipped with two real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing kits and nine pieces of conventional equipment that supported the laboratory's fast-test procedures.

"Right after the ministry appointed us [as a COVID-19 referral laboratory], some hospitals immediately sent us samples to be tested," he said on Thursday, adding that the laboratory had completed 18 sample tests, each of which required eight hours of testing.

Joko promised that the testing time would be optimized, adjusting to the large number of samples that would be sent to the laboratory.

Read also: COVID-19: Central Java to set up more isolation facilities, prepare for worst-case scenario

"The laboratory is expected to help hospitals in Central Java in testing suspected COVID-19 cases," Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said during his visit to the laboratory on Thursday.

Ganjar gave assurances that the laboratory could provide a fast outcome within hours, with results for samples submitted before 12 p.m. ready by the afternoon and results for samples arriving afterward ready by the next day.

"The faster, the better," Ganjar said.

The governor said he expected the Health Ministry to soon authorize more COVID-19 laboratories to ensure faster handling of the disease.

He said Kariadi Hospital in Semarang was appointed a referral laboratory to conduct the tests, but it needed to further prepare.

At least 15 laboratories across the country have been authorized by the Health Ministry to carry out COVID-19 tests.

As of Wednesday, Central Java had 38 cases, with four fatalities that were linked to COVID-19. (trn)