JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – President Joko Widodo instructs his ministers highlighted positive cases of the COVID-19 in the country which has increased significantly in recent days. The president asked his ministers to focus on testing, tracing, and treatment to reduce the number of cases.

In his remarks on Monday (07/13), Widodo said there are eight provinces that must boost their test. The head of state also called the tests through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to be improved. The method, he said, was by increasing the number of laboratories in the regions as well as the PCR lab car.

“It remains on our concern to ensure testing, tracing, and treatment in East Java, Jakarta, West Java, South Sulawesi, Central Java, North Sumatra, and Papua. I have ordered health officials to conduct at least 30,000 tests nationwide per day,” the president said in a video message.

Indonesia has passed yet another toughest week in the COVID-19 outbreak with 11,950 more confirmed cases and 435 deaths, the highest ever by seven-day average. COVID-19 cases in the country now totaled 75,699, increasing by 1,681 on Sunday. The past week has seen two highest single-day rises, including Thursday’s record when daily cases topped 2,000 for the first time in Indonesia. The death toll increased by 71 on Sunday, the second-highest daily Covid-19 deaths, to a total of 3,606.

Worst-hit East Java remains unable to slow down the transmission, with 518 cases to take its total to 16,658. Twenty more COVID-19 patients have died in the province in the last 24 hours, bringing its total death toll to 1,208. The resurgence in Jakarta also continued with 404 new cases on Sunday, taking its total to 14,517. The capital city has a total of 691 COVID-19 deaths, ten more from yesterday. Meanwhile, South Sulawesi report 173 new cases, South Kalimantan 77, Central Java 70, and Papua 63. The virus has spread to all of the country’s 34 provinces.

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, Widodo added.

“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 video published by the State Secretariat.

According to the president, improvement of hospital health facilities especially laboratories, Personal Protective Equipment, medicines, ventilators, isolation rooms also still require additions to the provinces as mentioned before. Widodo also conveyed the need to control border areas and cross-border travel and transportation.

“We really have to make this a concern because we have also imported cases from abroad,” the president added.

Indonesian COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo said it will reinstate tighter restrictions on home and public gatherings after logging a double-digit rise in coronavirus cases in recent days. Monardo explained as Indonesia braces to gradually reopen the economy, the government has announced that the country’ regions should meet two main conditions to be able to ease COVID-19 mobility restrictions and start welcoming the so-called “new normal”.

Regions should either have maintained zero COVID-19 cases or have witnessed a significant decrease in the number of infections to relax curbs and reopen businesses under health protocols, he added.

However, the policy will be very dynamic and turn around quickly, if the regions cannot properly maintain and suppress its COVID-19 cases. The government has not ruled out the possibility of tightening social movements in the region again.

Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy adding the government is aiming to increase the country’s production capacity of COVID-19 PCR test kits to 2 million units a month. Currently, state-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma is producing around 50,000 test kits per week.

“Should Indonesia be able to produce the number, we will be able to meet domestic needs,” Effendy said, adding that the idea had been conveyed to the president, who was also supportive of the plan. The minister explained in every case there must be a tracing and tracking area and the region must immediately be quarantined by “environmental quarantine.”

The minister also said Istiqlal Mosque will not hold Eid Al-Adha prayers in 2020 or 1441 Hijri, in order to avoid a crowd that has the potential to become a new medium for viruses spreading.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexynantu@theinsiderstories.com