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Synergize to Prevent Potential Omicron Waves

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By: Rivaldi Andrian )*

Society and Government need to increase synergy to prevent potential Omicron waves. Although some cases only cause mild symptoms, Omicron still needs to be watched out for as the spread of this variant is high.

Unpleasant news related to the Covid-19 variant of the Omicron has circulated again, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said, it is not impossible that Indonesia could experience a new wave of Covid-19 transmission due to the variant which was first discovered in South Africa. However, he said that people should not panic but remain vigilant.

Now Omicron variants have been identified in 150 countries and are giving rise to a new wave with higher peaks in many countries. Based on data from the Ministry of Health, the number of Covid-19 cases as of January 11, 2022 has reached 802 cases, the majority of which were donated to foreign travelers (PPLN).

As for the 537 cases centered in Jakarta, 435 cases came from PPLN. The government also appealed to the public not to travel abroad in the next 2-3 weeks. It will also continue to closely monitor the development of the case and will take the necessary anticipatory steps.

In addition to confirmed cases, the probable number of Omicron also continues to increase. Until January 10, 2022, 1,384 probable Omicrons have been detected from the SGTF.

Spokesperson for Vaccination Ministry of Health dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that if we look closely, we can see a significant increase in the daily number of cases, from 454 to 802, almost doubling. Nadia said the public must be prepared to face the Omicron wave, given the characteristics of the Omicron which has a very fast spread rate.

However, judging from the severity, the majority of Omicron cases are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. So it does not require serious treatment in the hospital. For this reason, his party will intensify telemedicine dedicated to patients who are isolating at home. In addition, from a therapeutic point of view, the Ministry of Health will also include the use of Monulpiravir and Plaxlovid drugs for the treatment of Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms.

In terms of tracing, the government will increase the discovery of active cases by optimizing tracing to more than 30 per positive case. In addition, WGS inspections will also be carried out at the community level with a target of 1,700 to 2,000 WGS every month.

He also added that the government had also started a Covid-19 booster vaccination for the age group 18 years and over, to maintain the level of immunity and extend the period of protection from Covid-19, including Omicron.

The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 patient does not appear to show unusual symptoms and is different from that shown by previous Covid patients. Coughing or loss of sense of taste and smell (anosmia) were not found in Omicron sufferers.

Doctors in South Africa who saw the virus first said the Omicron variant had very mild symptoms. Some of the symptoms are fatigue and an itchy throat. The same thing was said by Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, Patients with the Omicron variant have mild symptoms, unfortunately this variant can spread the virus more quickly and also have many mutations in the future.

In general, the Omicron variant does have different symptoms from the Delta variant. At that time more patients with more severe symptoms. The need for oxygen and hospital care also spiked when the Delta variant first hit mid last year.

Something different was seen when the Omicron variant began to spread. Reports from a South African medical study from a number of hospitals in the province of Gauteng, show that the Omicron variant causes milder symptoms. There was no increase in oxygen demand and intensive care in Omicron patients. For information, Gauteng is the first region Omicron has detected.

The same report also stated that most of the patients were incidental Covid-19 admissions, i.e. had been in hospital for other medical or surgical reasons. In addition, vaccination is also a determining factor in Omicron transmission. It was reported that the patients treated were those who did not get vaccinated.

We need to know that the Omicron variant has arrived in Indonesia, of course vigilance and adherence to health protocols and vaccinations are steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of an omicron wave in Indonesia.

)* The author is a contributor to Pertiwi Institute

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