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Jakarta Post

DBS Indonesia donates test kits, food assistance worth Rp 26 billion

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 15, 2020   /   03:49 pm
DBS Indonesia donates test kits, food assistance worth Rp 26 billion Healthcare workers take a swab sample from a passenger amid the COVID-19 outbreak, at a railway station in Bogor near Jakarta, Indonesia on May 11, 2020. (REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

Private lender PT Bank DBS Indonesia has donated thousands of test kits and staple food assistance worth Rp 26 billion (US$1.7 million) to support the government’s coronavirus response.

Aside from food assistance for unemployed or furloughed workers, the bank donated 100,000 rapid test kits, 15,000 viral transport mediums, 5,000 swabbing kits, two portable machines to perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and 3,000 reagents, said Paulus Sutisna, the bank’s president director.

“We believe that greater accessibility to testing will bolster the effort to handle the spread of COVID-19,” Paulus said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday.

Indonesia, the second-hardest-hit country in Southeast Asia, has not done enough testing, with only about 8.3 tests per confirmed case as of May 14. It is far lower than neighboring Malaysia, which has performed 40 tests for every confirmed case, according to data provided by Our World in Data, a publication of global socioeconomic data.

To improve its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected over 16,000 people and killed more than 1000, the government seeks to do more tests especially in hard-hit regions.

National COVID-19 task force head Doni Monardo said his office would distribute the test kits from DBS Indonesia to East Java, the second-hardest-hit province in the country with 1,772 confirmed cases, accounting for 11.5 percent of the national aggregate.

“The priority, of course, is regions seeing a surge in cases,” Doni said in the same briefing. “We hope with this help from test kits, the task force can significantly increase the number of samples tested for early detection and prevention of further spread.