The Jakarta Post
A senior Indonesian official recently tweeted mentioning billionaire tech investor Elon Musk, asking him for ventilators, as Southeast Asia’s most populous country grapples with a medical equipment shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Deputy State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin posted the tweet on April 5 in response to Elon Musk’s tweet on March 31, which said his companies had extra ventilators available for worldwide shipping.
Dear Elon, We are managing 70 hospitals with around 6,500 beds in Indonesia and are desparately looking for 300-400 additional ventilators as quickly as possible to deploy to cope with new patients. Pls contact me at [email protected]— Budi G. Sadikin (@BudiGSadikin) April 5, 2020
“I was assigned by the SOEs Minister to find ventilators as far as the edge of the world!” said Budi, smiling, with tongue in cheek, during a video call press conference on Tuesday. “So when Elon Musk posted that tweet, we chased him as well.”
The deputy minister’s tweet said that Indonesia was “desperately looking” for up to 400 ventilators “as quickly as possible” for around 6,500 beds in 70 hospitals around the country.
Countries around the world are experiencing scarcities in medical equipment like test kits, protective gear and ventilators, from Europe, America or Asia. There were 2,491 COVID-19 cases in Indonesia as of Monday, including 209 deaths, which is the highest recorded death toll in Southeast Asia, according to government data.
“From what I’ve heard, the countries that are still able to build and supply ventilators are China and Russia,” said Budi.