Indonesia to test more people for COVID-19

first_imgThe Health Ministry has said it will now assign its regional labs to test people suspected of carrying the novel coronavirus amid concerns that it has not been proactive enough in detecting infected people to prevent its spread.The ministry, which is spearheading the battle against the lethal virus, previously insisted that only its Jakarta-based Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) be authorized to conduct throat swab tests and announce the result.The policy change was made after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday that two Indonesians, known as Case 1 and Case 2, had been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The patients, a mother and her daughter, are believed to have contracted the virus after the latter interacted with a Japanese COVID-19 patient who visited Jakarta last month.“With the first confirmed cases, we need to be able to respond faster. The tests will no longer be done in Balitbangkes only,” said the Health Ministry’s disease control and prevention directorate general secretary, Achmad Yurianto, who has been appointed as the spokesman for the handling of the virus outbreak.Read also: COVID-19: ‘People don’t need to stockpile everyday items’, Jokowi says amid panic buying spreeEnvironmental, health and technology centers (BTKL) in 10 cities — Batam, Medan, Palembang, Makassar, Manado, Ambon, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Banjarmasin — have been chosen to conduct the tests. The labs will only conduct a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which is used to determine whether someone has contracted Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, Achmad said. Only Balitbangkes, he added, had the capability to conduct a gene sequencing analysys to identify the virus infecting a suspected patient if they were declared negative for coronavirus.“We will send supervisors to these centers. Now a specimen from Ambon no longer needs to be sent to Jakarta,” Achmad said.Officials will now test not only those showing COVID-19 symptoms and having recently traveled to countries affected by the virus outbreak such as China, South Korea and Iran but also those having had contact with coronavirus-positive people even though they show no symptoms.Many parties, including scientists and foreign governments, have cited the lack of tests as the primary reason Indonesia, one of the top tourist destinations for people in Wuhan, the Chinese city from which the animal virus first infected humans, could have been underreporting cases.The government has only tested samples of 155 suspected patients across the country, two of which have come back positive. For comparison, as of March 2, South Korea, which has the most COVID-19 patients outside China, has performed 109,591 tests.While it has decided to change its testing policy, the government has refused to establish a special independent committee to handle the health crisis, as demanded by a number of health experts.“There is no need for a new organization. Too much structure is confusing,” Achmad said.Doubts linger over whether the Health Ministry alone is capable of handling the crisis, or is proactive enough to detect patients, which is crucial to prevent the virus from spreading.Critics have questioned whether the ministry had been proactive in tracing people who have had contact with foreign nationals who tested positive for coronavirus and are known to have traveled to Indonesia.Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto initially claimed that the government had proactively traced Case 1, a 31-year-old woman, after being notified by Malaysia that a Japanese COVID-19 patient had visited Indonesia. He then clarified that it was the woman herself who came to the hospital to have herself checked after being informed by her friend about the Japanese woman.Achmad has dismissed such concerns, saying the government was now tracing 50 people of different nationalities who went to a restaurant where Case 1 met with the Japanese patient. “We’ve got three names. It’s not easy because the patient did not have a close relation to these people.”On Tuesday, President Jokowi called on the Indonesian people to remain calm and respect the COVID-19 patients’ privacy following his announcement of the first two confirmed cases of the disease.“The fact is that most of the patients — including those in China, Japan, Italy and Iran — have been able to recover from the disease. So we don’t have to fret but we should remain vigilant,” he said, adding that hospitals treating the patients should avoid disclosing their private information.Bayu Krisnamurthi, who headed the National Committee for Avian Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness (Komnas Flu Burung), said the country must work together to contain the virus.“We are no longer preventing the novel coronavirus from entering the country. We should now focus on containing its spread. There must be a special authority to handle this,” Bayu told The Jakarta Post on Monday.The special committee will have the authority to coordinate between related institutions. “The core issue is national health, but that’s not the only one. It involves many things: transportation, industries, scientific institutions, regional administrations and more. We need to have an authority that is specifically assigned to this, working full time to handle this because coronavirus is not a usual thing,” he said. (aly)Editor’s note:The article has been updated to clarify Achmad Yurianto’s statement on the authority of Balitbangkes.center_img Topics :last_img read more

When does the Premier League start? Opening day fixtures and which are on TV

first_imgWhen does the Premier League start? Opening day fixtures and which are on TV Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 9 Jul 2019 3:26 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link70Shares Manchester begin the defence of their title on Saturday 10 August (Picture: REUTERS)The Premier League season is right around the corner, with less than five weeks before the action starts all over again in England’s top flight.It has been a packed summer of football since the end of last season, with the Europa and Champions League finals, followed by the Women’s World Cup and Copa America, keeping football fans very busy.But attention is turning back to league action with Premier League fixtures beginning on Friday 9 August and five games being televised across the opening weekend as a whole.The highest profile clash of the opening weekend is the last fixture on the Sunday as Frank Lampard takes charge of Chelsea for the first time in the Premier League, away to Manchester United.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTOpening weekend FixturesFriday 9 August8pm Liverpool v Norwich CitySaturday 10 August12.30pm West Ham United v Manchester City3pm Bournemouth v Sheffield United3pm Burnley v Southampton3pm Crystal Palace v Everton3pm Leicester City v Wolverhampton3pm Watford v Brighton5.30pm Tottenham Hotspur v Aston VillaSunday 11 August2pm Newcastle United v Arsenal4.30pm Manchester United v ChelseaMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityOpening weekend televised fixturesFri 9 Aug – Liverpool v Norwich – Sky SportsSat 10 Aug – West Ham v Man City – BT SportSat 10 Aug – Tottenham v Aston Villa – Sky SportsSun 11 Aug – Newcastle v Arsenal – Sky SportsSun 11 Aug – Man Utd v Chelsea – Sky SportsMORE: Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool’s players they have unfinished business in the Premier LeagueMORE: Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hints at move for Man City’s Leroy Sanecenter_img Comment Advertisementlast_img read more