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Jakarta Post

LG to donate 50,000 diagnostic test kits to Indonesia from South Korea

  • Made Anthony Iswara

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 31, 2020   /   02:47 pm
LG to donate 50,000 diagnostic test kits to Indonesia from South Korea Medical staff prepare tools for rapid tests at the Abadijaya community health center (Puskesmas) in Depok, West Java on Friday, March 27, 2020. (JP/Riand Alfiandy)

South Korean industrial conglomerate LG, known for its electronics subsidiary LG Electronics, will donate 50,000 diagnostic test kits from the Asian country to help the government handle the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

LG International Indonesia president director Lee Chang Hyun said the test kits would be shipped in stages starting next week, according to a press statement from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). Four companies under LG, LG Electronics, LG Chem, LG Innotek and LG International Indonesia donated the diagnostic test kits.

"Along with the spirit of special strategic partnerships, mutual sharing and mutual support, we care [about Indonesia] and are moved to participate in the fight against the pandemic," Hyun said in a press statement on Tuesday.

LG is among other companies who are rolling up their sleeves to help the government limit the spread of the pandemic, as COVID-19 cases soared from zero on Feb. 29 to 1,414 within a month as of Monday, with 122 deaths.

The world is now experiencing a scarcity of medical equipment such as test kits, protective gear and ventilators, whether in Europe, Indonesia or the United States, Sri Mulyani said after a virtual Extraordinary G20 Leaders' Summit on Thursday last week.

Read also: Indonesian manufacturers step up as G20 nations coordinate global medical supply

WHO data currently show that the pandemic has hit more than 190 countries. While South Korea has already bypassed COVID-19 peak spread, Indonesia is currently scrambling to contain the virus. "That's why LG is expressing its sympathy toward Indonesia," the press release reads.

The BKPM expressed its gratitude for LG's aid. The agency added that it would coordinate with the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) to distribute the kits.

"Here we can see that LG is not only an investor but also Indonesia's best friend. We certainly hope that the current solid teamwork between Indonesia and South Korea will become stronger," said BKPM spokesperson Tina Talisa, as quoted by the release.

South Korea is the seventh-largest investor in Indonesia with investments totaling US$1.07 billion in 2019.

Aside from LG, carmakers around the world are shifting gear to producing hospital ventilators and respirators to combat the coronavirus using 3D printing. Ford, General Motors, Ferrari and Nissan have been listed, on top of General Electrics and 3M Co.

Textile factories in Indonesia are switching their production lines to produce personal protective equipment for medical personnel, including mass-producing masks and protective coveralls.

Read also: COVID-19: Textile factories face hurdles as they switch to producing medical gear

One Indonesia-based start-up called Nusantics is also preparing to make 100,000 COVID-19 test kits, in partnership with state pharmaceutical company Biofarma, the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and the Indonesia International Institute for Life Sciences (i3L). A prototype will be complete within three weeks, according to the company’s investor East Ventures.

Indonesia has pledged to support manufacturers with the capacity to produce the desperately needed protective gear, test kits and ventilators that are crucial in the worldwide fight against COVID-19 as Group of 20 nations pledge to focus on saving lives.