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New Zealand Government supports Indonesia to detect COVID-19

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New Zealand has stepped up its support for Indonesia in its efforts to tackle COVID-19 by increasing the capacity, quantity and quality of COVID-19 testing.

The New Zealand Government will provide NZ$150,000 to the Ejikman Institute for Molecular Biology, in the Ministry of Research and Technology, to contribute to the COVID-19 response efforts.

President Joko Widodo assigned the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology as one of Indonesia’s reference laboratories for COVID-19 testing on 13 March 2020. Since then, the number of COVID-19 samples referred to the Institute has increased exponentially. Within days, the Institute has produced and disseminated 20,000 Viral Transport Medium (VTM) to 95 health facilities across Indonesia.

VTM is an important medium for transporting swabs of suspected COVID-19 patients from hospitals or health care facilities. During this pandemic, the VTM’s have been in short supply and are critical for increased testing capacity.

“Our contribution will enable the Eijkman Institute to continue producing and distributing 100,000 VTMs and provide supplies for accurate and reliable Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis to detect the cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia,” said New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia, Dr. Jonathan Austin.

Professor Amin Soebandrio, PhD, the Chair of the Eijkman Institute said, “It is critical to continuously deliver accurate and reliable diagnosis for COVID-19 cases in Indonesia by producing VTM, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal flocked swabs and RNA extraction kits.”

“New Zealand has a long history of supporting Indonesia, and has always stepped up to assist in times of crises. We remain committed to support Indonesia as it works through the implications of this pandemic”, said New Zealand Ambassador Dr. Jonathan Austin.

Media contact: Hira Trisnoputri (Hira.Trisnoputri@mfat.net, +62 811 8605 007)