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Jakarta Post

Govt to expand PCR testing for coronavirus

  • Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 9 2020   /  12:25 am
Mr. Robot: Staff members operate a robot designed to deliver food for patients at Pertamina Jaya Hospital in Cempaka Putih, Central Jakarta, on Monday. The COVID-19 emergency hospital has 160 beds and 65 isolation rooms with negative pressure, which will be used to treat patients who test positive for COVID-19 according to World Health Organization standards. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Health Ministry issued a circular on Tuesday allowing public hospital laboratories, public and private clinical laboratories, as well as state-owned virology laboratories and university research laboratories to conduct PCR testing as long as they meet level-two biosafety (BSL-2) standards for testing SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and have the necessary equipment and facilities.

The decision came after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Monday called on the Health Ministry and the COVID-19 task force to improve and accelerate PCR testing, which scientists say is crucial in the battle against the deadly pandemic.

According to pandemic data site Worldometer, Indonesia is ranked among the lowest in COVID-19 testing with only 52 tests for every million people as of Wednesday. By comparison, among neighboring countries Singapore has tested 11,110 ...