Jakarta – Although the public is largely well-acquainted with preventive measures to curb COVID-19 transmission such as the "3M" protocols, a significant number of people are still at a loss as to how tracing, testing and treatment – the so-called 3T procedures – work in the context of pandemic mitigation, according to a recent survey by research firm IPSOS Indonesia.
IPSOS Indonesia managing director Soeprapto Tan said around 29 percent of Indonesian citizens were still unaware of 3T, whereas 99 percent were already familiar with 3M – which stands for menggunakan masker (mask-wearing), mencuci tangan (hand-washing) and menjaga jarak (social-distancing).
He said such a gap in awareness suggested that some people had failed to understand that the two measures were equally crucial in breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission.
Given that, Suprapto has called on the government to initiate a campaign advocating the importance of the 3T procedures.
"The 3M campaign has been very loud and is still going to this day. If the 3M protocols had not been in place, 3T would have been [even more overlooked]. Now that 3M is already in effect, it's time to start talking about 3T," he said during an online discussion held by the national COVID-19 and economic recovery committee on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.
Monica Nirmala, the official adviser to the coordinating maritime affairs and investment minister, said during the same event that the 3M and 3T protocols were meant to complement each other – the former covering the role of individuals in preventing COVID-19 transmission, while the latter is concerned about the collective response to the pandemic.
She went on to say that early testing was vital so that a suspected COVID-19 patient could be quickly treated to reduce the risk of further transmission.
"Indonesia's testing rate currently stands at between 24,000 and 34,000 people per day," Monica said, while urging the public to contribute to ongoing mitigation efforts by complying with the 3M and 3T protocols.
Addressing the health crisis currently facing Southeast Asian countries amid the pandemic, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said the ongoing emergency should serve as an opportunity to improve the current healthcare system.
"This pandemic should be a wake-up call for us to improve our healthcare systems, both at the national and regional levels," Jokowi said during the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Saturday.
He said it was crucial that nations harness the power of information and communications technology to provide easy access to health care during these critical times, such as by collaborating with telehealth platforms.
National COVID-19 task force head Wiku Adisasmito previously said the number of municipalities and regencies designated as coronavirus red zones in Indonesia had increased to 27 as of Saturday.
Furthermore, 370 regions across the archipelago have been categorized as orange zones, which is a major cause for concern, he said.
"[The number] shows that several regions have become complacent," Wiku said, adding that orange zones could easily turn red if COVID-19 transmission in those regions got out of control.
He urged regional administrations to continue imposing stringent restrictions to further flatten the curve of coronavirus infection in their respective communities. (rfa)