Eijkman Study Predicts COVID-19 Peak Spread to Occur in May-June

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A senior researcher at the  Eijkman Institute Biomolecular Institution (LBM), Herawati Sudoyo, predicts that the peak spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will take place between early May up to the end of June this year. 

    The institute’s latest study predicts that positive coronavirus cases in Indonesia could reach a total of 11,000-71,000 by the end of this month. However, the recently imposed large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) across multiple regions are hoped to be able to suppress that number significantly.

    “Learning from other countries, the lesser the physical contacts, the smaller the chance for transmissions,” said Herawati to Tempo on Friday, April 17.

    Two other programs that can further decrease the number of positive cases, said the researcher, are mass-COVID-19 PCR tests and rigorous contact tracing. 

    The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has exceeded 5,000, which is believed to reflect the figure of transmission one to three weeks ahead. 

    Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit (EOCRU) researcher Iqbal Elyazar added that this predictive number of cases was highly-affected by the mobility of people nationwide due to the lack of official government ban on the public’s mobility. 

    The enormous prediction of positive cases is closely linked to the ability of laboratories in checking samples with the average COVID-19 test labs able to test 1,000-2,000 samples daily. 

    “Next week, more positive cases will be reported as more samples are tested,” said Iqbal on Thursday.

    He also said that the PSBB could theoretically suppress the number of cases but what remained unknown was how the social distancing protocol could curb the mobility of public transport users. 

    DEWI NURITA