Parliament appeals for cheaper, more accessible COVID-19 swab tests in Indonesia

Indonesia’s House of Representatives (DPR) has called on the Indonesian government to control the price for PCR test or swab test, as part of an effort to maximize test numbers in order to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

House Speaker Puan Maharani said today that the number of people getting tested will increase when swab tests are more financially accessible for most Indonesians. Right now, most independent swab tests conducted at labs or hospitals are priced around IDR1.5 million to IDR3.5 million (US$100.63 to US$234.81), with the more expensive options promising quicker results.

“We appeal to the government to lower the price for the swab test, and to implement a price standardization. Although [the price] will be adjusted with the place or certain provinces or regencies, if the price is lowered, this will push the public to take independent swab tests,” Puan said in a statement today.

“With regards to the swab tests that are currently being carried out massively, if the prices are lowered so that the public will have the awareness to do independent testing, that will be better.”

Doni Monardo, the head of Indonesia’s COVID-19 task force, said yesterday that the Development Finance Comptroller (BPKP) has suggested a price ceiling of IDR797,000 (US$53.47) per person for independent swab tests. Doni said the price suggestion is still being evaluated by the Health Ministry so as not to burden both the public and the labs conducting the swab tests.

As of this afternoon, more than 3.2 million Indonesians have been swab tested. Indonesia, which has a population of more than 260 million, has one of the world’s lowest testing rates among countries with high infection rates.

 

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