TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Epidemiologist from Australia's Griffith University Dicky Budiman agreed with Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin's statement that the declining number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia is attributable to people's immunity.
"That's true, the most vital thing that answers the current situation is that many Indonesians have acquired immunity, either from natural infection and vaccination," Dicky told Tempo on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.
According to the independent global health research center of the University of Washington, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), at least 29 percent of Indonesian people had been infected as of September 27, 2021. "This means, almost 80 million Indonesians got infected," Dicky said.
The figure was far higher than the COVID-19 case numbers reported by the government at 4,228,552 cases as of October 11, 2021. The results of the IHME study, Dicky opined, showed that Indonesia had poor testing and tracing capacity so that many cases were not detected.
Dicky reminded all parties not to take off guards following the dramatic decline in cases. "Remember, our current condition is not sustainable because there is a potential for new variants and drop in immunity, perhaps in the next nine or six months. The details surely need further study," he remarked.
He also urged the government to keep accelerating the vaccinations, increasing 3T (testing, tracing, and treatment), and strengthening health protocols of 5M (wearing masks, washing hands, maintaining distance, avoiding crowds, and limiting mobilization).
The COVID-19 pandemic situation in Indonesia could not yet be said to be under control because the virus mortality rate is still higher than the global rate. Besides, Indonesia is still experiencing community transmission and the complete vaccination coverage is not yet above 50 percent.