Minister Calls on Public to Remain Cautious Despite Falling Cases
Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin on Monday (30/08) has urged the public to remain cautious and vigilant although confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospital bed occupancy rates have declined.
“President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo at the Limited Cabinet Meeting ordered the public to remain eling lan waspada (a Javanese philosophy which literally means to always be mindful and on alert),” Budi said in a virtual press statement on the latest public activity restrictions (PPKM) developments.
The Minister further said that Indonesia should learn from data and previous experience on the spike in cases in early January and July this year due to the increase in people’s mobility. Therefore, he called on the people to carry out the easing of public activities with full caution.
According to Budi, the President also asked the Cabinet to develop strategies to deal with the pandemic in the long term, especially regarding the implementation of health protocols.
“The President stressed that there must be a clear transition strategy from pandemics and endemics, especially with health protocols dissemination. Vaccination must also be accelerated and should reach 100 million (doses) by the end of this month, if possible,” he added.
The Minister also said that the highly contagious Delta variant has caused a surge in confirmed cases and mortality cases around the world, even in countries with high vaccination rate and coverage.
“The longer the world delays vaccination, there will definitely be transmission in one area and the new variant will emerge due to transmission,” he said, adding that there are several new variants that are still being investigated, such as the Lambda variant in South America.
To anticipate a new variant, Budi continued, Ministry of Health will continue to increase the capacity of genome sequencing tests.
“In 2020, we could only do 140 tests in nine months to find out the new variant, but now in eight months we have done 5,788 tests or sequences,” the Minister said.
Moreover, Budi stated that the Ministry has a testing capacity of 1,700-1,800 per month which will be fully maximized. “Preventing a new variant is beyond our capabilities, but the most important thing is our response to overcome it,” he remarked. (RF/UN) (GWH/MUR)