Wed, 21 Oct 2020

JAKARTA, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday ordered authorities to aggressively trace those infected by mycobacterium tuberculosis and the COVID-19 virus at the same time in a bid to bring down the number of cases.

The move came as the number of tuberculosis infection cases has been alarming in recent years, making Indonesia the country with the third highest number of tuberculosis cases in the world.

"Now we have already had a method for aggressive tracing to find out the whereabouts of those infected by the COVID-19. With the method, we can also trace those having tuberculosis disease," Widodo told a cabinet meeting at the State Palace.

When the infected persons can be traced, the spread of the tuberculosis disease can be reduced in the country, he said. He asked for the availability of drugs and medical equipment to treat patients with the disease. The patients must undergo medical treatments until they are cured of the disease, he added.

Preventative measures must also be undertaken by creating a clean environment to stop the transmission of the disease, according to Widodo.

Based on data, the number of tuberculosis infections in Indonesia stands at 845,000. In 2017, tuberculosis disease killed 116,000 people across Indonesia. The figure came lower to 98,000 in 2018.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease usually caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis that usually infects the lung, but can also affect other parts of the body.

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