President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo. (Photo courtesy of State Secretariat)

Jokowi Disappointed as Daily Tests Fail to Reach 10,000


MAY 11, 2020

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Monday he was disappointed the country has so far failed to meet its target of 10,000 polymerase chain reaction tests per day after he had set the target last month

"I just received a report that we can now test 4,000 to 5,000 samples per day. This is still far from the target that I gave, which was 10,000 tests per day," President Jokowi said during an online cabinet meeting from Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Monday.


Data from the National Covid-19 Task Force, a collaboration between ministries and government agencies, say 104 laboratories are now capable of testing Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

These laboratories are part of the Health Ministry's laboratory network and are entitled to received expedited supplies of personal protective equipment and other lab equipment, including testing kits and reagents.

At the moment, only half of these laboratories are testing for Sars-CoV-2.

Covid-19 Task Force Head Lt. Gen. Doni Monardo said the provinces of Bengkulu, North Maluku, North Kalimantan and Southeast Sulawesi still don't have a Covid-19 laboratory and have to send their samples to neighboring provinces. 

"West Papua already has a lab, but it hasn't started testing yet," Doni said. 

Doni said Indonesia still lacks skilled laboratory technicians needed to ramp up its testing capacity. 

President Jokowi said the task force must mobilize more manpower and equipment to meet the testing target. 

"We need to pay more attention to the human resource problem. We also still don't have enough testing equipment, especially PCR reagents and VTM [virus transporting material]. I want these problems to be resolved this week," Jokowi said.

Indonesia has so far tested 113,452 people for Covid-19 or 420 per one million of its population. Around 10 percent of those tests turned out positive.

A guideline from the World Health Organization suggested countries should aim for a positive test rate of below 10 percent to be able to say they have done a sufficient amount of testing to track Covid-19 among its population. 

By Sunday, Indonesia had reported 14,032 positive cases with a total of 973 deaths and 2,698 recoveries since the first cases were announced on March 2.

Since then, the country has also tracked 248,690 people suspected of carrying the virus but not showing any symptoms (ODP) and 30,317 suspected patients in hospitals (PDP).