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Jakarta Post

Indonesia's strategy to end COVID-19 outbreak lacks effectiveness: Study

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 25, 2020   /   12:19 pm
Indonesia's strategy to end COVID-19 outbreak lacks effectiveness: Study A police officer issues a letter to a motorist found in violation of large-scale social restrictions protocols in Bandung, West Java, on April 22. (Antara/M. Agung Rajasa)

The COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia may be prolonged under its current strategy of imposing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), with the number of confirmed cases in April exceeding the projected number, a study has suggested.

Following the PSBB implementation in Jakarta ‒ the country’s epicenter of COVID-19, on April 10, public policy observer Pandu Wibowo conducted a study, calculating that Indonesia might confirm only 4,700 cases in late April and reach its peak in June with 6,100 cases.

In mid-April, however, the country surpassed the prediction, with the number of cases increasing to 5,136 on April 15, indicating that PSBB measures had not been effective, the study concluded. The government has recorded 8,211 cases as of Friday.

“Through data observation until April 20, the government has failed under its first strategy, with the PSBB not working as it should. To that end, the government must take a chance on scenario two and optimize the PSBB,” Pandu told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Pandu analyzed the coronavirus spread in Indonesia with what-he-called the “NhPR model”, counting the number of known cases per day, as well as the chance of contracting the disease and the average number of people encountering people with COVID-19 under the PSBB.

Read also: Indonesia's latest official COVID-19 figures

Under scenario two, the study projects that the number of confirmed cases in Indonesia may reach around 11,000 in April, with stronger awareness of social restrictions and changes in people’s behavior in the last week of the month.

“The second scenario illustrates conditions similar to today, with the lack of effective PSBB implementation as Thursday, while many people are still not complying with the rules,” Pandu said.

The study predicted that if the government optimized public awareness in the remainder of the week, Indonesia may see about 15,000 cases by the end of May, with 350 to 600 new cases per day, and reach its peak with nearly 16,000 cases in June.

“The PSBB must be more effective to reduce virus transmission,” Pandu said, adding that the government should tighten law enforcement.

He asked that the government carry out more examinations in each affected region and accelerate the distribution of social security to encourage people to stay home.

 Read also: Indonesia suspends all passenger travel across cities to prevent Ramadan exodus

In the third and last scenario, the study predicts that the country may record around 21,000 confirmed cases by the end of April and 30,000 in May, and reach its peak with 31,000 in June, with 800 to 1,100 new cases per day.

 “It is predicted that the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia will end by the end of June under each scenario but the number of cases will vary, depending on the optimization of government policies and the support of public awareness,” Pandu said.