JAKARTA: Indonesia needs to immediately widen its testing for COVID-19 to ensure detection of more infections, President Joko Widodo said on Thursday (Mar 19).
“I ask that the number of testing kits and the number of test centres are increased and we get more hospitals involved,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Southeast Asian nation saw its biggest daily jump of 55 infections, for a total of 227 cases.
It also recorded 14 more deaths linked to the disease, bringing the death toll to 19.
National spokesperson for COVID-19 Achmad Yurianto said on Tuesday that the government is equipped with 10,000 test kits.
The number of laboratories to test COVID-19 will also be increased to at least 12 nationwide next week from the existing four, he added.
READ: Indonesians seek to get tested for COVID-19 as tally rises; govt says unnecessary to test everyone
The World Health Organization has called for “aggressive” action in Southeast Asia to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus, warning on Tuesday that some countries were heading towards community transmission of the deadly disease.
Infections have soared across the region in recent weeks, forcing several countries to introduce drastic measures ranging from closing their borders to foreign arrivals and imposing night time curfews to closing schools and cancelling sports events.