A health worker takes a blood sample from a car driver during a rapid test outside Lippo Mall Puri in West Jakarta on Saturday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Jokowi Calls on Districts to Boost Testing as Coronavirus Cases Surpass 6,000

APRIL 18, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instructed all governors, district heads and mayors to intensify screening for coronavirus in their respective regions as confirmed cases continued to grow and reached 6,248 on Saturday.

The central government cannot work alone but it needs support from its regional arms until the smallest unit of the administration to tackle the outbreak, the president said in a video message.

“I need to tell all regional governments to ramp up testing massively and trace contacts aggressively, to be followed by strict isolation procedures [in confirmed cases],” the president said in the two-minute video published by the State Secretariat.

“The government cannot work alone. Participation by all elements of the community is very crucial. This is not easy to us all but I certainly believe we can get through this ordeal together and come out stronger as a nation,” he said.

Jokowi has ordered health officials to conduct at least 10,000 tests nationwide per day. Since the first cases were confirmed early last month, Indonesia has conducted less than 50,000 tests.

Earlier in the day, the Covid-19 Task Force said confirmed cases increased by 325 after a record high of 407 a day earlier. Given the highly fluctuating new cases daily, it remains hard to predict when the country’s outbreak will reach its peak.

Task force spokesman Achmad Yurianto said 24 patients have fully recovered over the last 24 hours to bring the total recovery to 631, but the death toll also increased by 15 to 535.

Jakarta remains the country’s epicenter of the outbreak with 2,092 confirmed cases and 257 deaths, while only 206 patients have recovered.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry reported on Friday that at least 394 Indonesian citizens had contracted the infectious illness in foreign countries. In India alone, 75 Indonesians have tested positive for the virus after participating in a Muslim pilgrimage. 

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said 717 Indonesian Muslims had joined the pilgrimage and remained in India. As both countries are imposing travel restrictions, evacuations of the Indonesian citizens could not immediately commence.
 

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