Swabbalicious: Government lowers PCR test price to IDR275K

A case tracer in North Jakarta performing a swab test. Photo courtesy of Abimanyu
A case tracer in North Jakarta performing a swab test. Photo courtesy of Abimanyu

The gold standard COVID-19 diagnostic tool has become slightly more accessible to Indonesians, after the government this afternoon announced PCR swab test’s price ceiling has been lowered to IDR275K (US$19).

During a virtual press conference, the Health Ministry said it has evaluated the costs of the different components of the PCR test and agreed to lower its price ceiling.

“The maximum price for a PCR test is IDR275K in Java and Bali, and IDR300K (US$21) for outside of Java and Bali,” Dr Abdul Kadir, director general at the Health Ministry’s Health Services Department, said.

Abdul added that, under the new prices, test facilities must issue results within 24 hours of sample collection. Test facilities have been known to get around the government’s price ceiling by charging more to fast-track results.

Previously, the government set a price ceiling of IDR495K (US$35) for a single PCR test, causing unease among many Indonesians after it was made mandatory on all domestic flights and amid plans for an expansion of that rule into all modes of public transportation. The government has argued that more widespread PCR testing is necessary to prevent false negatives and another COVID-19 wave as we head towards the end of the year.

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