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Jakarta Post

Semarang launches first drive-thru PCR test for COVID-19

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang, Central Java   /   Thu, April 23, 2020   /   02:18 pm
Semarang launches first drive-thru PCR test for COVID-19 Medical workers take swab samples from people inside their cars for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to determine COVID-19 infections at the Diponegoro National Hospital (RSND) in Semarang, Central Java, on Wednesday. The facility is lauded as the first drive-thru PCR test station in the province. (Courtesy of Central Java Provincial Public Relations/-)

Diponegoro National Hospital (RSND) in Semarang is offering drive-thru polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19, lauded as the only such service in Central Java.

“This is very cool. Very innovative. I think this drive-thru PCR test is the first in Central Java," Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said when launching the service on Wednesday.

RSND of Diponegoro University is the fifth laboratory appointed to conduct PCR tests to detect COVID-19 in the province.

The other four laboratories are the Center for Research and Development of Vector and Reservoir Diseases (B2P2VRP) in Salatiga, the Kariadi Hospital in Semarang, the Moewardi Hospital and Sebelas Maret University Hospital, both in Surakarta.

The drive-thru service lets people have their specimens taken without getting out of their car. They only need to stop their vehicle in front of the hospital lobby. Medical workers using protective gear will immediately come over to take a swab sample.

RSND director Sutopo Patriajati said the method was considered safe and aimed at reducing the potential of COVID-19 transmission, as people did not need to crowd in a waiting room and make contact with many people.

Sutopo said the lab was able to process up to 100 swab samples per day.

"We will continue increasing the lab capacity and human resources, as well as testing more samples," he said.

With the establishment of RSND as a PCR laboratory, the handling of COVID-19 in Central Java is expected to be faster.

"Health workers could make faster decisions in handling COVID-19 patients as the need to treat patients in hospitals keeps growing," Ganjar said.