Indonesia Ready to Fight Omicron

   

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported in December 15, 2021 that the Omicron variant has now spread to seventy-seven countries. On December 16, The Indonesian government has announced that the Omicron variant had been detected in Indonesia. One cleaning worker at Wisma Atlet, the hospital for COVID-19 in Jakarta, was positively infected.

In respond to this situation, President Joko Widodo conveyed four instructions. First, he asks the public not to panic and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated immediately. He also reminds the people to strictly implement health protocols. The President also temporarily prohibits officials and citizens from traveling abroad.

The government prohibits the entry of foreigners who have a travel history to infected countries in the last 14 days and mandated a 10-day quarantine for travelers coming from other countries. Sadikin also stated that the country’s whole genome sequencing (WGS) testing had been increased to screen for the Omicron variant, especially for inbound travelers.

“We want to reduce the round time for the WGS to five days instead of two weeks, or even down to just three days, if possible,” stated Sadikin.

More Vaccination, Better Protection

The vaccination program is still one of the frontline strategies in Indonesia to fight off the pandemic, especially to reduce fatality and safeguard the economy. Despite the country’s place at the top 25 most vaccinated countries based on Our World in Data released December 2021 with a total of 103 million people fully vaccinated, the Ministry of Health is still aiming for a higher number by expanding the recipient group to aged six and above.

“Yes, [the children’s] risk is low, they won’t go to the hospital, but they can transmit the virus to their parents or grandparents,” explained the Minister of Health at a press conference.

Besides the primary vaccination program, vaccine boosters for the public will begin distribution in January 2022, starting with the elderly and vulnerable groups recipients before continuing to the rest of the people.

All the extensive anticipation is hoped to protect the country in the fight against Omicron. The plan ensures that Indonesia’s economy is safely guarded and able to run the business as usual, even amid the continuing pandemic.

“There is not a single regulation nor its derivatives that are annulled, not the OSS [One-stop Submission System – ed] nor the fiscal incentives. Investment arrangement rolls as it has always been,” confirmed the Minister of Investment/Chairman of BKPM Bahlil Lahadalia in a press conference held on December 1, 2021. The Ministry of Investment/BKPM will continue to foster the creation of added value downstream, encourage investment that creates import substitution, and invite countries to invest in Indonesia.

Indonesia has experienced a significant downturn of COVID-19 cases in the second half of this year after the vaccination program rolled out for the public midyear. The number of active cases keeps declining and is currently manageable at under 500 nationwide.