Gov’t to Take Quick Response to Spike in COVID-19 Cases Outside Java, Bali
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has ordered his administration, particularly the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police, to quickly respond to the spike in COVID-19 cases in several regions outside the islands of Java and Bali in the past two weeks.
According to the President, as of 25 July, the number of positive cases outside Java and Bali islands reached 13,200 cases or 34 percent of national new cases and as of 1 August, the number increased to 13,589 cases or 44 percent of the total national new cases.
On 6 August, the number rose to 21,374 cases or 54 percent of the total national new cases.
“I order Commander of the TNI (and) the Chief of the National Police to always remind Commanders of Military Regions, Chiefs of Regional Police, Commanders of Military Precincts, Commanders of Military Districts, and Chiefs of Precinct Police to take a quick response to the numbers that I have stated because they have the speed,” the President said during a limited meeting on the development evaluation and follow-up of public activity restriction level 4 held through a video conference from Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java province, Saturday (07/08).
The President also stressed on five provinces with the highest spike in cases as of 5 August, namely East Kalimantan with 22,529 active cases, North Sumatra with 21,876 active cases, Papua with 14,989 active cases, West Sumatra with 14,496 active cases, and Riau with 13,958 active cases.
The President went on to say that on Friday (06/08), the number of active cases in North Sumatra province increased to 22,892 cases, adding that in Riau province, it rose to 14,993 active cases and in West Sumatra province, it grew to 14,712 active cases, whereas the provinces of East Kalimantan and Papua have seen a decrease in active cases.
“Beware. It always goes up and down and we need to be aware of East Nusa Tenggara province. Beware of East Nusa Tenggara. I saw that last week on 1 August, East Nusa Tenggara still had 886 (active cases), on 1 August. On 2 August, it had 410 new cases. On 3 (August), there were 608 new cases. On 4 (August), it had 530 (new cases). However, on 6 (August), there were 3,598 (new cases). (Regions with) numbers like this must be responded quickly,” he said.
According to the President, there are three measures that are important to be taken immediately as they are important factors in decreasing COVID-19 cases in the islands of Java and Bali.
The President stated that the first measure is to limit public mobility.
“If the number of cases has soared that high, public mobility must be reduced. The first is the most important. All governors must know. Commanders of military regions, chiefs of regional police, everyone must know. Mobility of people must be slowed down for at least two weeks,” he said.
The President also ordered Commander of the TNI to intensify testing and tracing so that those who have had close contact with COVID-19 patients can be found and isolated immediately and a spike in COVID-19 cases can be prevented.
“Respond quickly because it deals with speed. If not, people with COVID-19 will have gone everywhere, (the virus) will have spread everywhere. Find them quickly. Second, testing and tracing. Once again, find them quickly. Test people, trace the people with whom they had contact. That is the second,” he said.
Furthermore, the President ordered that COVID-19 patients be immediately taken to centralized isolation facilities; thus, he ordered governors, mayors, and regents to prepare isolation centers in their respective region by utilizing public facilities, such as sports centers, multipurpose halls, and schools.
“I order Minister of Public Works and Public Housing to also assist (regional governments) in preparing isolation centers, especially in the regions that I have mentioned, which must be given immediate response based on the number of cases. Do involve the Indonesian Medical Association, the main gate of patient treatment. In Java island, (treatment) can be done through telemedicine, but if it cannot be used, (treatment) can be done through phone calls to reduce the mortality rate,” he said.
Aside from the three measures, the President also stated that vaccination speed is also the key to COVID-19 management; hence, he appealed to everyone to support the national COVID-19 vaccination program and ordered regional heads to immediately vaccinate their people as soon as they receive vaccine supplies.
“Do not let vaccination stop even for a day or two. Immediately inject them to the people. When it is out of stock, ask for more to the Central (Government). Do not store vaccines for too long, be it in health offices, hospitals, or community health centers. Order them to immediately inject all (of the vaccines) because this speed will bring protection to our people. I will follow the update of the number of daily cases,” he remarked. (Bureau of Press, Media, and Information of Presidential Secretariat/UN) (DH/EP)