Epidemiologist: Covid-19 pandemic is under control, but the risk of active cases is still high

Merdeka.com – Epidemiologist from the Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia (FKM UI) Pandu Riono said that although the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia was under control, the risk of an increase in active cases was still high.

“So, with a reproductive number below one, Indonesia will be able to control the pandemic. The problem is the possibility of a spike (of COVID-19 cases),” said Pandu in the webinar on the Urgency of Accelerating Vaccination for Vulnerable Groups, Anticipating the Third Wave of COVID-19, reported by Antara, Wednesday (13/10).

Based on the data he has, the reproduction rate of COVID-19 in the country as of October 6, 2021 reached 0.96 percent. After experiencing a decline from September 16, 2021, which was previously 0.98 percent.

According to Pandu, the decline in the reproduction rate of COVID-19 was the result of an orderly society carrying out the COVID-19 vaccination that was intensified. Although Indonesia has seen a decline in both death and active cases, the downward trend could be temporary.

In this case, he continued, the government often forgets to set an example and educate the public about the dangers of COVID-19 transmission and consistently applies health protocols, as well as people who are too euphoric seeing the current situation.

He stressed that if all parties are inconsistent in carrying out the rules made, there is a possibility of the entry of new variants that are potentially more violent than the Delta variant, both from within and outside the country.

Pandu said the increase in cases is feared to occur during the Christmas and New Year holidays, so the government needs to really determine the policies taken related to mobilization that can cause the level of transmission.

In order to avoid a spike in active cases, Pandu suggested that people continue to follow vaccinations without discriminating against brands, because vaccines have been proven to be effective in protecting themselves from the dangers of COVID-19.

“If it is not effective, there will be many deaths. So, we are proving that vaccines provide sufficient protection. Don’t hesitate to want another vaccine (brand),” he said.

He asked the public to continue to comply with health protocols, be willing to be tested and not hide their status if they are proven positive for COVID-19.

Furthermore, for the government, he suggested strengthening surveillance on genome sequencing and strengthening the quarantine system that is applied to all migrants, both Indonesian citizens and foreigners who re-enter Indonesia without state discrimination.

In addition, for vaccination activities, the government must be able to reach people in remote or slum areas and improve the leadership qualities of local governments to lead people to be willing to be vaccinated.

Pandu also suggested that the government tighten entrances, expand verification applications and verifiers to detect people who are self-isolating, because there are still people who are positive for COVID-19 clustered in the community.

He said applying the rules consistently and in a coordinated manner could prevent a spike in cases in the country.

“If we use these methods consistently, coordinated and evaluated, we can prevent a very high third wave spike. A small spike might occur,” he said. [ray]

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