It is still fresh in memory that last July, the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Indonesia reached its worst point where many health facilities collapsed, unable to accommodate the continuous flow of patients.
Social media at that time was filled with news of the death and requests for help to find oxygen. The Delta virus variant, which is more contagious than other variants, has easily made Indonesia the epicenter of the spread of COVID-19 in Asia.
However, the situation is now gradually improving. The number of daily positive cases has fallen considerably compared to two months ago. The daily COVID report from the government also shows a drastic decline in the number of victims who died from this corona virus infection. In recent days, the death toll has been recorded below 100 people.
Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said apart from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decline in cases occurred because of the possibility that most people already had immunity.
“One of the scientific explanations is that many Indonesians already have immunity, either artificially through vaccines, or naturally because they recover from illness,” said Budi in a press teleconference, in Jakarta, Monday (11/10).
To find out for sure, his party will cooperate with the Ministry of Home Affairs (Kemendagri), the University of Indonesia (UI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct a seroprevalence survey or antibody prevalence survey to 21,880 samples in 34 provinces and 100 districts/cities. throughout Indonesia.
“Later, the results of this survey will be completed in mid-December and can provide a complete picture of the immune condition or antibody condition of all our people in 34 provinces and become the basis for our future policy formulation. We plan to conduct this survey seroprevalence every six months,” explained Budi.
People are considered to have immunity
Epidemiologist from Airlangga University, Windhu Purnomo, admitted that the curve of COVID-19 cases in the country fell very sharply. In line with Budi, Windhu also suspects that a natural immunity has been created in the community due to the high infection rate that has occurred previously.
“So actually in the community (the spread) is very high so that (now) it produces population immunity, natural community immunity. Because if (only relying on) vaccination is clearly small, we are still around 28 percent for dose two. So definitely not because of vaccination immunity, but because of natural immunity due to big infections in June, July and before,” Windhu told Mouab.
Even so, he said, the hypothesis or allegation had to be proven by a seroprevalence survey so that it was really known epidemiologically the exact cause of the sharp decline in COVID-19 cases in the country.
“That will have to be proven through what is called a sero survey. I once discussed it with the Minister of Health, that I suspect the existence of natural immunity in the population because the curve is so steeply down, because if it were only for government intervention it would not have fallen that sharply. Keep going down but the descent is more gentle, not as steep as now,” he concluded.
Best In ASEAN
In a joint press conference with the Minister of Health, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan also claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Indonesia continues to improve. During the past week, he said, the daily positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide fell by 98.4 percent. He continued, specifically for Java and Bali, corona cases fell to 98.99 percent from the peak of cases on July 15.
“In addition to daily cases continuing to improve, the number of deaths in Indonesia continues to decline. On October 10, there were only 39 deaths nationwide, and 17 for Java and Bali. Compared to neighboring countries in ASEAN, Indonesia is among the lowest,” said Luhut.
Luhut explained that based on the COVID-19 Recovery Index data released by Nikkei, Indonesia’s ranking was much better than Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
However, he reminded all elements of society and also the government, especially local governments, not to get out of control and stay alert. This must be done in order to maintain a sloping COVID-19 curve for a long and consistent time. (gi/rs)