JAKARTA – The Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas of The Republic of Indonesia organized the Covid-19 Safe and Productive Community Protocol Press Conference on Thursday (21/5) via videoconference. The press conference was led by Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas of The Republic of Indonesia Suharso Monoarfa, accompanied by World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to Indonesia Dr. N. Paranietharan and epidemiologist dr. Panji Fortuna Hadisoemarto, MPH, Ph.D. The Minister briefed the media on the formulation of the adjustment criteria on the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) policy.
Referring to the success of other countries in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Indonesia upholds main requirements to ensure the productivity and safety of the community: 1) Using data and science as the basis for decision making in the PSBB adjustment, 2) Implementing PSBB adjustments through several phases and by zones, 3) Reinforcing strict health protocols guarded with discipline and supervision, and 4) Revisiting PSBB adjustment policy if deemed necessary should the protocols are not respected.
The easing of PSBB must meet three criteria. First is the epidemiology criterion i.e. referring to the constant decrease of new cases indicated, among others, by The Effective Reproduction Number (Rt) less than one for at least two consecutive weeks. The second criterion is the capacity of the healthcare system in treating Covid-19 patients indicated by the number of hospital beds and emergency installations that should exceed the number of new cases requiring hospitalization. The third criterion is surveillance capacity indicated by sufficient swab test capacity. Accordingly, several areas may have met the criteria to adjust PSBB. Even so, the Covid-19 protocol should be strictly implemented. Routine monitoring should be conducted. Subject to new cases are increasing during the process, PSBB can be reinstated.
“If a certain region manages to reduce Rt to below one and followed by consistent decrease of new cases, it shows that the virus is contained. It does not necessarily imply that the virus has disappeared. Therefore, we need to stay vigilant and consequently we need to embrace the new normal in the next several months, at least until the vaccine and drugs are available or the Covid-19 can be suppressed to a very low level. The new normal will include washing hands with soap or hand sanitizers routinely, using mask, and maintaining physical distancing in most daily activities while increasing test, tracing, and isolation of cases systematically,” said Minister Monoarfa.
There are also several issues worth mentioning. First, the coming week is a critical period. People are returning to their hometown for Eid celebration, mass prayer, and visiting relatives and neighbors. This could potentially increase the risk of virus spread if health protocols are not being followed. Second, the Covid-19 health protocol has to be imposed strictly, especially practicing clean and healthy lifestyle (washing hands with soap or hand sanitizers and mask usage), physical distancing, independent case reporting, and social control. Third, we need to adopt the new normal life, optimizing digital technology, and consistently adhere to the Covid-19 Safe protocol. The Ministry of National Development Planning/ Bappenas also plans to launch a daily updated Dashboard of Effective Reproductive Number (Rt) to monitor the development of the case which can be used as a reference for the implementation of Covid-19 related policies.