Gov’t to Recruit COVID-19 Volunteers
Date 4 Juni 2020
In a bid to conduct massive testing and to trace COVID-19 spread across the country, the Government has announced a plan to recruit volunteers.
“We expect the willingness of master’s students in molecular biology, nursing students, midwifery students, and public health students. The President has agreed to conduct a wide scale volunteer recruitment due to a limited number of volunteers and shift work,” Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy said in his press statement after a Limited Cabinet Meeting, Thursday (4/6).
The Minister went on to say that Minister of Research and Technology/ Head of the National Research and Innovation Agency has proposed to carry out intensive training before volunteers are assigned.
According to Muhadjir, the President ordered the Task Force and Coordinating Ministry of Human Development and Culture to immediately improve data collection on the spread of the virus in order to speed up COVID-19 handling.
“Real-time management reporting is required as a basis for decision making and one stop decision process. We will continue to resolve data collecting issues,” Muhadjir said.
On patient’s personal data, he said that the data should be remain protected in accordance with the law, yet it can be analyzed quickly for the sake of decision making.
“The President requested protection for the patient’s data, including patient privacy. The President also instructed the Task Force and relevant parties to prioritize the handling of three provinces, including East Java Province, South Kalimantan Province, and South Sulawesi Province,” Muhadjir added.
The Coordinating Minister further said that the Government will increase COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing target. To date, the total number of tests has reached more than 11,000 per day.
“The President asked for an increase in testing target to 20,000 samples per day. According to the President, the testing target could reach 30,000 samples per day with 120 units of medical equipment we have,” the Minister said.
On the aggressive tracking using mobile app, the Minister said that the tracking techniques will use GPS devices. He also mentioned the need to build industries related to various materials for PCR testing, including cotton swab tips and viral transport medium for COVID-19 detection.
“There are dozens of testing kits with various brands. The President asked to simplify them by reducing the number of testing kits so there will not be too many testing kits on the ground. A lot of virus-carrying medium do not match with the extraction reagents because their brands are different. It hampered the implementation on the ground,” the Minister added.
According to the Minister, a small number of testing kit brands will ease the handling of COVID-19, adding that the President also encouraged that PCR testing kit developed Indonesian researchers to enter mass production immediately so that imported testing equipment is no longer needed.
On that occasion, the Minister also said that Minister of Research and Technology should resolve the issues nose and throat swab testing kits because it still cannot enter production while the PCR can.
“The President requested to produce nose and throat swab testing kit so we can use our own products that have been medically tested,” the Minister said.
Regarding vaccines, Muhadjir said that Indonesia should be independent and has a target that Indonesia will be able to produce COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year.
“The President has instructed our research team to step up to search, to immediately discover a vaccine that could be used by Indonesia itself,” Muhadjir stated.
The President, he added, has pointed out that there are 147 relevant parties in the world that are engaged in developing COVID-19 vaccines. However, they will certainly use it for the sake of their own needs once the vaccines invented.
“Our population is 270 million people, it is also impossible if we depend on import only. We must get ready to conduct research on vaccines for our country,” the Minister concluded. (TGH / EN)
Translated by: Syarifah Aisyah
Reviewed by: Mia Medyana