By: Ayu Sri Mulyadi *)
The corona virus that causes Covid-19 is still around us. Although new cases had decreased, recently the number has increased again, including in Indonesia. The public should recognize the latest symptoms of Covid-19 and remain vigilant by improving health protocols (Prokes) including being actively involved in carrying out vaccinations.
It should be noted that there is the latest Covid-19 subvariant, namely the BN.1 subvariant where the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that BN.1 is a subvariant of the Omicron variant. However, until now Indonesia has not reported cases of Covid-19 caused by this subvariant. Subvariant BN.1 is reported to cause mild flu-like symptoms and not much different from the symptoms of its predecessor variant.
The Government Spokesman for Handling Covid-19, Dr. Reisa Broto Asmoro, ensured that the government continues to encourage the public to take part in the second booster vaccination program to prevent transmission of the corona virus, especially in the spread of the newest subvariant. Dr. Reisa also appealed to the public not to hesitate in getting the second booster vaccination and not to be influenced by false information or hoaxes regarding vaccines.
Dr. Reisa said that the second booster vaccination or the fourth dose has now been recommended for the elderly (elderly). This is one of the efforts of the Indonesian people to end the Covid-19 pandemic. Please note that with vaccination, the risk of experiencing a worsening and also death from the Corona Virus will be lower.
Dr Reisa reminded that the Covid-19 pandemic was still happening. At the same time, the body needs more efforts to avoid infections, which are currently proven to be effectively prevented by vaccines. This is because the antibodies that have been created from vaccinations still have to get further injections, in order to provide maximum protection and prevent people, especially the elderly, from severe symptoms and death.
Regarding the administration of the second booster vaccine to the elderly, the government is still providing services free of charge. Therefore, for the elderly who are over 60 years old, they can get it six months after the last booster.
Meanwhile, data from the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) as of October 4 to November 21 2022 shows, the number of people who died as a result of being infected with Covid-19 reached 2,449 people and was dominated by those aged 60 years and over. With details of 48 percent of them have not been vaccinated at all, another 8 percent have only received the first dose, 26 percent have received the second dose and only 18 percent have had a booster.
Therefore, Dr. Reisa appealed, so that vaccinations continue to be carried out and the elderly can move around comfortably, as well as an effort to accelerate ending the Covid-19 pandemic which will enter its third year.
Meanwhile for the elderly under the age of 60, Dr. Reisa also appealed, to complete it up to the first booster first while waiting for the Ministry of Health to announce the next policy.
This is in line with what was conveyed by the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in his remarks at the Plenary Cabinet Meeting on economic conditions in 2023, evaluating the handling of Covid-19, food and energy security at the State Palace, Jakarta. President Jokowi asked that the acceleration of booster vaccinations continue to be carried out, so that people’s immunity will be better.
President Jokowi requested that anticipation and mitigation of the handling of Covid-19 be continued even though currently there is a significant decrease in cases. He added, the number of daily cases as of December 5 yesterday was recorded at 2,234 after previously experiencing an increase in daily cases of up to 7 thousand.
As is known, the number of daily cases has been recorded to have decreased in the last few days. On December 5, daily cases reached 2,234 and on December 4 there were 2,548.
Nevertheless, the number of fatalities was still quite high, namely as of December 5 there were 48 cases and on December 4 there were 25 cases. Meanwhile, on December 3 there were 32 cases of death and on December 2 there were 37 cases.
Besides that, the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture (Menko PMK), Muhadjir Effendy after the Germas Award ceremony at the Kemenko PMK Building, Jakarta, revealed that the government would coordinate policies for handling Covid-19 ahead of the 2023 Christmas and New Year holidays. the handling of Covid-19 during the long holiday period aims to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases which are still mutating.
Muhadjir said, the determination of the level of each region will be determined in the coordination carried out. So far, all regions/provinces are still at level 1. This is in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standards regarding community transmission based on case rates, death rates, and treatment levels.
Muhadjir added, the determination of each level adjusts the level of Covid-19 cases in the country where the currently circulating Covid-19 subvariants, including XBB and BQ.1, are not as ferocious as the previous subvariants. He hopes that there will be no dangerous new variants so that there will be no increase in the level of Covid-19 in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the number of Covid-19 cases was relatively under control. He believes that the trend of Covid-19 cases in the future will continue to decline after passing the peak of cases, especially in Indonesia.
*) The author is a contributor to the Nusa Bangsa Institute.