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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Indonesia calls for global cooperation to overcome medical supply shortage

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 17, 2020   /   03:38 pm
 COVID-19: Indonesia calls for global cooperation to overcome medical supply shortage Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi attends the fifth International Cooperation Group (ICG) teleconference on a global COVID-19 response from her office on April 7. (courtesy of Foreign Ministry/-)

Indonesia has once again called for international communities to join hands in the face of the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 2 million people worldwide, particularly in addressing global shortages of medical supplies.

As many world countries now scramble to secure basic protective gear, Jakarta proposed to push forward cooperation between countries with the capacity to produce raw materials and countries with adequate human resources and technological capacities to overcome the challenge.

“It is very important for us to learn from the experience of others — the best practices and even the shortcomings,” Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Thursday.

"In order to effectively deal with the crisis, I believe we should not lose sight of the long-term perspective, which calls for the strengthening of international cooperation to bring our life back to normal.

 “For example, Indonesia is now in a practical joint production scheme for medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment [PPE], with South Korea and Japan.”

The minister said she had also been engaged in intensive communication with several other foreign ministries and would continue to do so.

Read also: Indonesia’s strategy to combat COVID-19: What we know so far

The World Health Organization raised a warning last month over a global shortage of medical equipment as it asked countries and companies to increase production of supplies by 40 percent amid the increasing death toll from COVID-19 worldwide, Reuters reported.

The lack of protective gear and supplies has taken its toll on healthcare workers around the world, including in Indonesia, where dozens of nurses and doctors working in the frontline of the coronavirus battle have reportedly been infected by the fast-spreading virus.

Worldometer data showed on Friday that over 2.1 million people in 210 countries and territories have contracted the disease, with more than 146,000 deaths. Official figures in Indonesia showed that more than 5,500 people have been infected, with the death toll reaching nearly 500 as of Thursday afternoon.

At least 394 Indonesians have tested positive for the coronavirus overseas.

Retno went on to say that another focus in Indonesia's foreign policy was to ensure the protection of Indonesian citizens abroad and foreign nationals in Indonesia during the global pandemic.

“Our doors must be open for repatriation efforts. But we need to make sure the mandatory health protocols comply with recommendations from the WHO,” she said.

Indonesia also pledged to ensure that its containment measures in restricting people's mobility will not disrupt global trade and supply chains, including the flow of medical goods and medicines, Retno added.