Indonesia Gradually Reopens Activities In A Careful Manner

JAKARTA - Indonesia is now gradually opening up activities in the socio-economic sector. This gradual opening was carried out after the condition of the COVID-19 pandemic was under control, marked by a continued decline in the addition of daily cases since the second peak in July 2021. This decline has been going on for 13 consecutive weeks.

Spokesperson for the COVID-19 Task Force, Prof. Wiku Adisasmito, said the current condition was the result of handling cases that had previously soared. So the decision to open gradually is based on the pattern of increasing cases.

"Looking back, the increase in cases is inseparable from the increase in community activity and mobility during the holiday period," Wiku said in a virtual International Media Briefing at Graha BNPB, Tuesday (18/10/2021) broadcast on the BNPB Indonesia YouTube channel.

To understand more clearly, the development of positive cases in the past week fell to 6,826 after hitting a high of 542,236 during the second peak. The decrease in cases is also closely related to the decrease in the cure rate, due to the declining number of cases. Last week alone, there were 12,567 people recovered, while the number of recoveries was highest in the second spike of 176,934 people.

In active cases or patients requiring medical treatment, the number also continues to decline. At the time of the second peak the number reached 542,236 cases or 18.84%, now it has fallen to 16,388 or 0.43%.

In line with that, the positivity rate also decreased drastically to 0.56% after reaching 26.76% during the second peak. And the bed occupancy rate at the referral hospital or Bed Occupancy Rate (BOR) became 5.69% from 77.77% at the time of the second peak.

Wiku added, in order to open gradually, it is necessary to learn by looking back at the handling of the pandemic since 2020. Observing the pattern of increasing cases, will be an important lesson in the gradual opening.

Such an increase in cases occurred 2 weeks after the Eid al-Fitr 2020 period. Cases increased by 214% and lasted for 7 weeks, although it could be suppressed by the policy of Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) in several areas.

However, a similar increase occurred again 2 weeks after the holidays with the Prophet's Birthday, Christmas and New Year's 2021. This increase occurred when the government implemented a transitional PSBB policy. In this period, cases increased for 13 weeks to reach the first peak with a 389% increase in cases higher.

Then, in 2021, cases had reached their lowest point on May 10. However, the increase in cases again occurred 3 weeks after the Eid holiday. Even though at that time the homecoming elimination policy had been set. The existence of the Delta variant triggered a very significant spike in cases until it reached the second peak of cases, which was 880% higher than the lowest case point.

Learning from the trend of increasing cases, it is important to analyze the right momentum for gradual opening. In addition to considering the positive case data and BOR, it is also necessary to pay attention to the effective reproduction rate (Rt). This figure shows the average number of cases that can occur from one positive person in a certain period of time.

At the time of the second spike in cases, the national Rt was 1.41. Currently, the national Rt is 0.70. An Rt value of less than 1 indicates a low potential for transmission in the community. "Therefore, it is hoped that activities can be resumed, although with full vigilance. Control measures are also being prepared by studying the pattern of previous increases in cases," he continued.

The condition of COVID-19 in Indonesia, which is currently improving, was achieved thanks to the support of all levels of society, the role of health workers as the front line of control, as well as the cooperation of various sectors, ministries, and institutions.

"Therefore, in this phased opening period, these achievements must be maintained. By implementing disciplined health protocols in every activity, extensive testing, and willingness to be vaccinated, community productivity can continue to be carried out safely," said Wiku.

Jakarta, October 19, 2021

Communication Team of the Committee for Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and National Economic Recovery