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Epidemiologist backs Jokowi's plan to end COVID-19 curbs

Tempo - December 21, 2022

Antara, Jakarta – An epidemiologist from Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Bayu Satria Wiratama agreed with President Joko Widodo or Jokowi's plan to lift the public mobility restrictions known as PPKM at the end of 2022. He opined that it is because there is no urgency to continue the policy.

"Revoking it (the policy) is okay because actually, there is no urgency anymore," said Bayu on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.

According to him, the PPKM policy was enforced because there was no ideal intervention to suppress the transmission rate at the onset of the pandemic. At that time, Indonesia logged high case numbers, followed by rising deaths while no vaccine was yet available.

Under these conditions, public mobility restrictions are inevitably imposed to slow down the transmission rate. "In the past, there was no good intervention on how to prevent COVID-19 from causing death, then PPKM was created," said Bayu, who is also the lecturer at the UGM Faculty of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing.

Meanwhile, Bayu asserted that at present, the immunity level of the Indonesian people is relatively high as the scope of vaccination continues to be expanded. Although the authority still records cases, most patients present mild symptoms.

"Even if there is a spike [in positive cases], the figure is not significant. And what is important is that it is not followed by death without being hospitalized," he explained.

However, Bayu asked the government to keep encouraging people to get booster vaccination, especially high-risk groups of people. In addition, 3T (tracing, testing, treatment) programs must be continued because virus transmission is still possible. The health protocol must not be eliminated, too.

Earlier today, President Jokowi said that at the end of 2022, the government will likely stop PPKM.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1670804/epidemiologist-backs-jokowis-plan-to-end-covid-19-curb