Indonesian President demands massive coronavirus testing for earlier detection of cases hinh anh 1Indonesian President Joko Widodo. (Photo: AP)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered massive rapid testing for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) be carried out nationwide after the country saw a significant rise in the number of infections over a few days.

Rapid testing must be conducted immediately with greater coverage so infections can be detected much earlier, he said during a telemeeting on March 19.

Jokowi also called upon state hospitals, state-owned enterprises, the military, police, and private enterprises to help accelerate the coronavirus detection process in the country.

An Indonesian state-owned enterprise is waiting for the green light from the Health Ministry to import half a million COVID-19 rapid test kits from China.

On the same day, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan restricted people in Jakarta from leaving the capital city for the next three weeks as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.

He requested people to not leave Jakarta unless the situation is urgent.

The ban was put in place since Jakarta has been the country’s hardest hit area which has so far recorded 208 infections and 17 deaths, accounting for 68 percent of the nation’s fatalities.

Anies said the most effective solution to prevent the virus from spreading further is maintaining social distance.

He also instructed local governmental officials to limit their interaction with the residents and decided to halt religious activities for the next two weeks, such as Friday prayers and Sunday masses.

As of 12:pm on March 19, Indonesia has confirmed 52 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections to 309 with 25 deaths. The country’s fatality rate is relatively higher than other Southeast Asian countries.
Chairman of Indonesia’s Red Cross Jusuf Kalla warned that the number of infections might be far higher than the confirmed figure due to low levels of testing./.