An Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force official inspects a package of Chinese-made testing equipment in Jakarta on Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Covid-19 Task Force)

Indonesia Receives Vital Equipment From China to Ramp Up Covid-19 Testing


APRIL 26, 2020

Jakarta. The Indonesian government’s Covid-19 Task Force received shipment of sophisticated laboratory equipment for coronavirus infection diagnostic testing from China on Saturday to help achieve a minimum testing number of 10,000 per day.

The country reported 8,607 confirmed cases on Saturday, including 729 deaths. Many believe the actual number of infections and mortality rate are much higher than the official data from the government, due to lacks of testing and medical equipment such as ventilators.

The equipment included three main types namely viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation kit, multiplex reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing kit and viral transport medium kit, task force’s director of communication Agus Wibowo said in a statement.

“The three types of machines will be very helpful in quick identification of Covid-19 cases among the community,” Agus said.

The RNA isolation kits works by extracting the blueprint of a particular virus, while the RT-PCR machines measures the amount of a specific RNA and delivers the final verdict if the patient catches the novel coronavirus, Agus said. 

“The RT-PCR machine procurement is meant to achieve our target of 10,000 tests per day,” he said.

The viral transport medium kit is used in testing specimens during a swab test, he added.

The key testing equipment was immediately distributed to hardest-hit provinces including Jakarta, West Java, Central Java and East Java, he said.

A day earlier, the task force also received donation of real time PCR testing kits from South Korea.

So far this month, Indonesian medical workers have conducted 67,828 specimen tests. Agus added that during a test, the lab technicians may take more than one specimen from a single patient, meaning that the figure doesn’t represent the actual number of people who have taken the tests. 

Task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said in a daily video conference that 396 new cases were confirmed over the last 24 hours.

The number of patients recovering from the disease increased by 40 to a total of 1,042 recoveries, he said. 

The task force also reporter 206,911 persons under surveillance (ODP) and 19,084 patients under observation (PDP) for suspect Covid-19 infections.

Those in the ODP category are encouraged to self-isolate at home while patients under observation will be prioritized to take the swab tests.