TEMPO.CO, Jember - A member of the COVID-19 mitigation team at dr. Soebandi Hospital, Angga Mardro Raharjo, called on the public not to excessively respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus. He opined, in a tropical country like Indonesia, some viruses could instantly die when exposed to direct sunlight.
“Including the COVID-19 that cannot survive under sunlight. Perhaps, this is the answer why the virus infection cases in Indonesia is relatively low when compared to that of China and South Korea, let alone Italy,” said Angga at a discussion forum on healthy lifestyle to anticipate the COVID-19 in Post-Graduate Building of Jember University, Wednesday, March 11.
Angga, who is also a lecturer at the Medical Faculty of Jember University, appealed to the public to develop a habit of applying a healthy lifestyle, especially in maintaining hands hygiene.
Discussions over COVID-19 that is less active in tropical climate areas brought up in early February. Deputy chief of dr. Hasan Sadikin Hospital (RSHS) special infection team, Anggraeni, said Indonesia is relatively benefited from its high sun exposure that curbs the potential virus spread.
The statement was also seconded by Erlina Burhan from the Department of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine of the University of Indonesia (UI) during a discussion at the UI Medical Faculty in Salemba, Central Jakarta.
However, a microbiology expert from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Sugiyono Saputra did not believe such theories. He admitted that the higher the sun exposure, the faster a virus will die.
The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation index in Wuhan City of China, where the COVID-19 first infection emerged, is 4, while Jakarta’s is 9. The higher the temperature, the lower the virus will survive, he added. Presently, the average air temperature in Wuhan is 12 degrees Celsius, while Jakarta’s is 27 degrees Celsius.
“Theoretically, Indonesia’s climate may drop the coronavirus survival in the air,” he said. “But many characteristics of the new virus remain unknown.”
Therefore, Sugiyono rejected the conclusion that low cases of COVID-19 infection in Indonesia were attributable to the weather considering the country also dealt with flu season and other diseases caused by viruses. Besides, several neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia also have confirmed corona cases. “So the theory cannot be generalized recklessly,” he concluded.
DAVID PRIYASIDARTA (CONTRIBUTOR)