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Jakarta Post

South Korean company gets green light to distribute protective gear in Indonesia

  • Made Anthony Iswara
    Made Anthony Iswara

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 7, 2020   /   02:41 pm
South Korean company gets green light to distribute protective gear in Indonesia Security guards wear hazmat suits as a preventive measure against COVID-19 as they check the temperatures of arriving customers at a shopping mall in Beijing on Feb. 27. (AFP/Greg Baker)

Textile company PT GA Indonesia, a foreign direct investment enterprise owned by South Korean investors, has gotten the government’s nod to distribute hazmat suits to the regions as the country fights the COVID-19 outbreak.

The company has also committed to delivering protective gear needed by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), according to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).

“We are thankful for the BKPM’s fast response when we submitted our distribution license application as our license was completed in an hour,” PT GA Indonesia president director Song Sung-wook said during BKPM’s visit to the company’s factory in Bogor, West Java, on Monday, as quoted in a statement circulated by the BKPM.

Read also: At least 18 doctors have died in the fight against COVID-19

“We are ready to increase our production as long as the raw materials are available,” he added.

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said in a meeting with the House of Representatives on Thursday that the shortage of protective gear and medical workers to administer tests and provide treatment for the disease were impeding the country's efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Monday afternoon, at least 2,400 people were infected by the disease with more than 200 fatalities, official data showed. Dozens of doctors and nurses have also fallen victim as they fight on the front-lines, with hospitals expressing concerns over depleting protective gear. 

BKPM head Bahlil Lahadalia said during the factory visit that producers needed to be protected from production disruptions as the world was scrambling for raw materials, especially from South Korea and China, to make protective gear.

"We'll take strict action against those who intentionally complicate things for protective gear producers. We should be grateful that the producers are already producing them since high-quality raw materials are currently rare," said Bahlil, adding that he would prioritize domestic hospital needs in the gear distribution.

Read also: Fashion shops, civil groups work hand-in-hand to cope with virus impact in Yogyakarta

GA Indonesia, along with five other South Korean garment producers in West Java grouped under the consortium of Indonesia-Korea Network Foundation (IKN) and Korean Association Bandung, strive to accelerate efforts to fulfill protective gear demand in Indonesia.

As many as 500,000 hazmat suits have been sent by the consortium to the regions as of April 3, according to the BKPM. The governments of South Korea and Indonesia have agreed to work together to provide raw materials and distribution licenses for such materials in a swift manner.

Going forward, the consortium plans to produce up to 100,000 pieces of protective gear per day.