Health Ministry Sets Use of Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test for Epidemiological Investigations
In a bid to improve testing and tracing efforts as part of the epidemiological investigation process and contact tracing to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission, Ministry of Health has issued Ministerial Decree Number HK.01.07/MENKES/446/2021 on the Use of Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test in Examining COVID-19.
The Decree allows the use of the rapid antigen test under certain circumstances outlined here.
Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi, during a virtual press conference on Wednesday (10/02), said that the antigen test will be provided at community health centers and its procurement will be the responsibility of the Central Government and Regional Governments.
The antigen test provided for free by the Government, Nadia said, can only be used for epidemiological tracking. Meanwhile, as a condition for traveling purposes, the antigen test must be accessed independently.
Similar to the PCR test result, the confirmed result from the antigen test will be recorded and reported as a confirmed case. However, in the reporting system, the separation of which comes from the antigen test and which comes from the PCR test is carried out.
“The use of the antigen test must still pay attention to a number of criteria, including selection, use, examination facilities and staff, recording and reporting, quality assurance of examination, as well as waste management,” she said.
On the criteria for use, Nadia added, examination using the antigen test can only be carried out during the acute phase, or within the first seven days of symptoms appearing. This aims to improve test performance.
In an effort to trace cases, the Ministry, in collaboration with the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) and the National Police (Polri), carried out tracing to all villages, regencies/municipalities in seven provinces that implement the Micro-scale Activity Restriction (PPKM) in Java and Bali.
The use of the antigen test during examination is likely to increase the number of cases. Thus, the Government urged the people to remain calm as it is better to be aware of the real data so that appropriate strategies can be implemented.
The Government has also increased the capacity of hospitals, added service hours, monitored the readiness of medicines and medical devices in hospitals, and increasing the number of health workers and vaccinators. (PR of Ministry of Health/UN) (FI/LW)