Epidemiologist: If you don’t want to be like India, ASEAN countries need to come up with a common strategy

KOMPAS.com – Indonesian epidemiologists fear that the Covid-19 pandemic in the country has the potential to worsen. If this is not controlled, the number of cases may increase, as has happened in India and several other countries.

Airlangga University epidemiologist Dr. Windhu Purnomo, reminded that what happened in India could also happen in that country if the Indonesian government does not act well.

“What happened in India, Malaysia and some other countries can also happen in Indonesia if we don’t want to learn from the bad experiences of other countries,” Windhu told Kompas.com on Tuesday (May 4, 2021).

Also read: The number of cases has fallen, why the Covid-19 tsunami could happen in India?

The two main reasons for Windhu’s statement are the stagnating case numbers, which have not decreased in recent weeks, as well as the weak supervision in border areas of neighboring countries, in particular quarantine for Indonesian citizens or foreigners entering the country.

The potential risk of worsening conditions for the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia was also conveyed by an epidemiologist from Indonesia Griffith University Australia, Dicky Budiman.

In a separate contact, Dicky said that as part of the ASEAN countries, Indonesia is viewed as prone to an increase in new cases and deaths.

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Indonesia is considered vulnerable as it has a fairly narrow territorial border. In addition, access to and from Indonesian territory at the border gate is relatively weak.

Including at the border gates near Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea.

According to Dicky, the border gates for severe import and export cases of Covid-19 are very easy to enter.

“As a result, what is happening in neighboring countries threatens to worsen the situation at home, which is clearly not under control at the moment,” he said.

So what can be done to avoid the potential risk of the worst conditions from the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia?

To answer that question, Dicky suggested two important things to do when dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

1. Strategy cooperation

First, Dicky stressed that ASEAN countries need to have a common strategy that can start at the regional level to avoid an increase in cases like in India.

Mechanisms and schemes for dealing with the pandemic, working together in strategies, as well as the goal of solving Covid-19, are examples of successes on the African and European continent.

“They (Africa and Europe) managed to suppress and control the Covid-19 pandemic because they have one unity Gates and strategies to which all Member States relate equally. This is my record for this ASEAN region, “Dicky told Kompas.com on Tuesday (April 5th, 2021).

According to Dicky, the joint strategy to fight this pandemic is important as ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, are countries that are classified as vulnerable to worsening pandemic conditions.

This is because the existing health system, with a relatively large population in ASEAN countries, is relatively the same or not strong enough to respond to a pandemic of this magnitude.

In addition, the ASEAN countries have fairly narrow territorial borders and some border points have relatively weak entry and exit regulations, including in relation to testing and Covid-19 quarantine.

“As a result, what is happening in neighboring countries threatens to worsen the situation at home, which is clearly not under control at the moment,” he said.

“We (ASEAN countries) cannot go alone, although our strategy is good, but the neighboring countries are not in good shape, the potential (bad) is still there,” he added.

Also Read: Learning From The Rise In Covid-19 Cases In India And Thailand, Epidemiologist: Don’t Give People A Void To Travel

REUTERS / AMIT DAVE A patient wearing an oxygen mask is taken to a Covid-19 hospital for treatment amid the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Ahmedabad, India on Monday, April 26, 2021. India has been shocked by a surge in Covid-19 cases that has set a world record of 17 million cases.

2. Put on 3T and resist vaccination euphoria

The next strategy that needs to be strengthened is 3T, which is mass testing (testing), Contact tracking (Tracking), and quarantine (Treatment).

In addition, the public should not rely on or be overly excited (euphoria) on the currently ongoing Covid-19 vaccination program for all parts of society.

The reason, as in India, is the current increase in cases in the second wave due to the euphoria of the Covid-19 vaccination.

Many of the people already feel safe without masks, crowd around and ignore other health protocols on the pretext that they are vaccinated against Covid-19.

In fact, experts have always emphasized that the current Covid-19 vaccine is not a protective shield to prevent infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

Rather, only to reduce or minimize the effects of severe disease symptoms that occur when the person is infected with the virus. In addition, the number of deaths is to be reduced.

This means that although we are vaccinated against every type of Covid-19 such as Sinovac, AstraZeneca or Sinopharm, this does not mean that our bodies are immune to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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