President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has repeated his call for the Health Ministry and the COVID-19 task force to conduct more polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, saying that they should aim to conduct at least 10,000 tests a day.
"I want PCR tests to be further increased and for the backlog of [unprocessed] samples to be reduced, especially in the epicenter regions," Jokowi said at the opening of a limited meeting on Monday.
He said that he had received reports that the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry had imported 18 PCR testing machines that could each process 500 tests a day and that there were now 29 laboratories nationwide that could process PCR tests.
"Up until today we have reached a total of 26,500 tests. This is a good jump but I want for us to conduct at least 10,000 tests per day," he said.
Indonesia's testing rate is among the lowest in the world, with only 99 tests per million people. In comparison, neighboring Malaysia has conducted over 2,000 tests per million people, while Singapore and South Korea have conducted over 10,000 per million people. Indonesia would have to conduct around 2.7 million tests to reach similar levels.
According to the Health Ministry's official count, there were 4,557 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide as of Monday, with 399 deaths. (kmt)