Covid-19 Pandemic: Govt offers mental health consultation, IDI demands govt to hold massive tests

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Covid-19 tests across Indonesia

In effort to handle impact due to coronavirus, the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) announced that it is currently offering public mental health consultations. This program will be launched to help people overcome the uncertain developments amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It considers as crucial as physical health services, especially in the midst of daily activities confined in the house due to large-scale social restrictions and anxiety-inducing news updates on the coronavirus.

“People who are starting to be struck by anxiety must be guided by experts in the field. We are trying to help people’s situation from turning bad that would overshadow the coronavirus itself,” said KSP Moeldoko in a meeting with the national service system for mental health on Tuesday, April 21.

There are three main strategic steps that the service offers, that is comprise of public education, initial consultation, and guidance.

Moeldoko also rallied everyone to contribute to the issue in hand that coming up during pandemic and participate in being the solution to community mental health problems.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) deputy chief Slamet Budiarto demanded President Jokowi to keep the promises the government made upon the handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19) related to massive tests up to the cure for the virus.

As for now, according to him, the government has yet been able to deliver the promises to fulfill test needs.

“They always say it will be done. But has it materialized? Just like when [the government] announced it will import 2 million Avigan tablets. None of them can be seen right now,” said Slamet as quoted by Tempo on Tuesday.

Slamet believes that the Indonesian government has the ability to increase the number of COVID-19 specimen tests. Therefore, he suggested that the government should at least conduct 1.5 million coronavirus rapid tests or 0.6 percent of the total 267 million Indonesian population.

Previously, the government reportedly planned to expand the tests on 1.5 million people. To hande these numbers of people, the government requires 24 units of PCR test machines, 300,000 PCR reagents, 1,500 units of rapid molecular test machines (TCM), 1.1 million TCM cartridges, and 37.5 million viral transport medium.

Slamet mentioned that the government has the option to involve the private sector to procure the aforementioned healthcare equipment if the government is not keen to invest in purchases. The Indonesian government is yet able to reach its promised testing COVID-19 capacity of 10,000 samples daily.

Besides the massive tests, regarding the homecoming or ‘mudik’ ban that has been decided by the government, slamet said, it will greatly affect the efforts to break the chain of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmissions.

“I predict that [the pandemic] could end in June if mudik is banned and PSBB is extended,” said Slamet on Tuesday.

Previously on Tuesday, April 21, President Jokowi officially decided to ban mudik altogether that will officially be imposed on April 24 after much criticism, including from the regional leaders that had long voiced their concern for the central government’s lack of banning mudik. For information, a poll by the Transportation Ministry shows that 68 percent of Indonesians claim they will not go mudik, 24 percent persists on going mudik, while 7 percent have already traveled back to their hometowns.

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