Experts Argue Validity of Emergency PPKM in Reducing Covid-19 Cases

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Laila Afifa

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  • Health worker carries out a Covid-19 antigen swab test on ship passengers who had just arrived from Sabang Island at the Micro Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) Command Post, Ulee Lheue Ferry Port, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Monday, July 12, 2021. Based on Wordometer data, Indonesia is ranked first in the temporary order of countries in the world with the addition of daily Covid-19 cases. ANTARA/Ampelsa

    Health worker carries out a Covid-19 antigen swab test on ship passengers who had just arrived from Sabang Island at the Micro Community Activity Restrictions (PPKM) Command Post, Ulee Lheue Ferry Port, Banda Aceh, Aceh, Monday, July 12, 2021. Based on Wordometer data, Indonesia is ranked first in the temporary order of countries in the world with the addition of daily Covid-19 cases. ANTARA/Ampelsa

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The enforcement of the emergency public activity restriction (Emergency PPKM) which initially planned to be lifted on July 20 has been extended until July 25. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo claimed that during the enforcement, that was started on July 3, it managed to reduce Covid-19 cases and the hospital bed occupancy ratio.

    Head of the Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology, Amin Soebandrio, on Thursday, July 22, explained that the dropping number of cases can in-fact be used as a positive benchmark in the handling of the pandemic. But that is supposed to be connected to the number of Covid-19 tests, as when the number of testing is reduced, then the detected cases will also be low.

    “We must tread carefully in seeing the reduction of cases,” said the Eijkman Head on July 22. “We must not hastily come to conclusions.”

    According to Soebandrio, who is also a microbiology professor at the University of Indonesia (UI) faculty of medicine, a significant dropping number of cases which comes alongside a similar number of tests the day prior will indeed be a good indication. 

    He argued that the number of cases reported in a certain time can potentially be samples taken from two to three days before. It means the changes remain dynamic and signals that daily Covid-19 cases will rise and drop in several days ahead. 

    Soebandrio further explained that the drop in Covid-19 cases, as the President suggested, is not a smooth dropping line but has small increases that can potentially grow much bigger. “That is what must be watched for,” said the holder of an immunogenetics Ph.D from the Osaka University, Japan.

    Tjandra Yoga Aditama, professor of UI’s Department of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine, echoed Soebandrio’s assessment. He said the roughly two weeks of the emergency PPKM cannot be used as valid data to determine the Covid-19 wave has dropped.

    He pointed out the testing conducted early into the first day of the PPKM that logged 27,913 cases from 110,983 tests while July 20 saw 38,325 cases from 114,674 tests. Aditama believed the number of cases on July 20 should be at the twenty-eight thousands to conclusively claim there is a reduction of cases. 

    “Instead, there are 38,325 cases recorded which clearly means it has not dropped and is notably higher compared to the beginning of the emergency PPKM, both in number and proportion,” he said. 

    Read: Emergency PPKM Relaxation Plan; Govt Urged to Use Valid Data

    MOH KHORY ALFARIZI