Indonesia Needs Two More Years to Fight COVID-19: Epidemiologist

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • An Indonesian doctor gestures after getting a dose of the Sinovac's vaccine at a district health facility as Indonesia begins mass vaccination for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), starting with its healthcare workers, in Jakarta, January 14, 2021. Health workers in Indonesia on Thurday (January 14) urged the general public to get vaccinated after the government expand a nationwide mass vaccination program to general public as new COVID-19 cases continue to hit record high each day. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

    An Indonesian doctor gestures after getting a dose of the Sinovac's vaccine at a district health facility as Indonesia begins mass vaccination for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), starting with its healthcare workers, in Jakarta, January 14, 2021. Health workers in Indonesia on Thurday (January 14) urged the general public to get vaccinated after the government expand a nationwide mass vaccination program to general public as new COVID-19 cases continue to hit record high each day. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaEpidemiologist from Australia's Griffith University Dicky Budiman predicted that Indonesia would need about two more years to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    “Our war against COVID-19 is not over yet. We still need time and at least two more years for Indonesia,” Dicky told Tempo today, March 1.

    According to him, it will be a vulnerable time as the pandemic has already been causing multi-sectoral and multi-faceted impacts. Thus, it takes proper and rapid mitigation and responses from the government on every level with the support of all stakeholders.

    Referring to the scientific study published by The Lancet, Dicky explained that any country should not and cannot refer to daily cases in reviewing its performance or trend in handling the pandemic.

    In Indonesia, for example, despite the declining trend of new daily infections, epidemiologists have warned the government not to be impressed and obsessed with it. “Because it's not valid, particularly in Indonesia with low testing capacity and tracing effort. That's very invalid,” he said.

    Such acts, he added, would be harmful as they could lead to misleading, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding.

    Additionally, the country’s positivity rate marking the percentage of positive results of the swab tests per the total number of people tested has always been above 10 percent since the onset of the pandemic. This can be a pile of homework, Dicky opined.

    If the issues could not be contained overnight, Dicky suggested the government carry it out gradually and take careful, precise, and comprehensive strategies, such as optimizing the 3T program (tracing, testing, and treatment) and COVID-19 vaccinations.

    Read: Second Phase of COVID-19 Vaccinations to Be Completed in June

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