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Indonesia may have reached Omicron peak, but needs to remain vigilant: Ministers

Jakarta Globe - July 4, 2022

Jakarta – Indonesia had passed the peak of the latest Covid-19 wave driven by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, with a relatively lower number of daily cases and deaths compared to other countries or the previous waves, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said Monday.

Budi said the ministry's data on the subvariant's proportion to infection, reproduction rate, and antibodies support the case for a further decline in the number of cases.

"If we compared the trend in other countries, our peak should have been reached. Our data supports it," Budi said in a press conference on Monday.

Budi said that based on the country's previous experience, Covid-19 would reach its peak when one particular variant became dominant. Today, the percentage of BA.4 and BA.5 cases has reached more than 80 percent.

"Even in Jakarta, there is 100 percent of BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants," Budi said.

The country reported 1,924 new daily cases on average last week, up 8.8 percent from a week earlier. Still, the weekly increase pace has slowed markedly from 63.1 percent two weeks ago to 106 percent three weeks, the ministry data showed.

The number of death also remained stable at five per day on average last week, barely changing from the previous six weeks.

Indonesia's cases are far lower than other countries ravaged by the same virus subvariants. Today the seven-day moving average in the United States is still at 116,304 cases, Australia at 32,116, India at 16,065, Singapore at 8,266, Malaysia at 2,384, and Thailand at 2,278.

Budi said Indonesians compared to those countries, Indonesia relatively "more disciplined in wearing face masks and taking vaccine shots."

Also, he suspected the low number of infections in the most populous country in Southeast Asia might link to the fact that the community's antibody against Covid-19 levels remains high.

Last December, the health ministry reported that 88 percent of Indonesia's population already has the antibody at a titer of between 400 to 500. Titer reflects the number of the highest dilution that still allows the antibody to be detected by laboratory test. The higher the dilution number means, the higher the antibody one has.

The ministry repeated a similar study in March and found more Indonesians have antibodies at an even higher level. According to the survey, "99 percent of the population already had antibody at a titer of 3,000-4,000," said Budi.

Still, the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, said Indonesia needs to remain vigilant, "The Covid-19 pandemic has not ended," he said, alluding to the higher number of cases in other countries.

The government has decided to extend the community-level restrictions PPKM policy outside Java-Bali will be extended from July 5 to August 1, 2022, he said. He said 385 districts or cities implement level one PPKM, the most lenient form of restrictions. Only two, Sorong Regency in West Papua, implement stricter restrictions at level two.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-may-have-reached-omicron-peak-but-needs-to-remain-vigilant-minister