Indonesia's response to the COVID-19 outbreak has not been successful, an epidemiologist from Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta, Bayu Satria Wiratama, has said.
"Indonesia has been unsuccessful [in handling the pandemic]," Bayu told kompas.com on Sunday.
He said there were two main factors that led to this conclusion: a lack of discipline in following health protocols among government officials and a failure to improve testing capacity.
"Despite the government continuously urging the public to wear masks, maintain physical distance and wash hands frequently, many government-organized events failed to implement such protocols," Bayu said.
This situation, he added, set a bad example for the public, causing many to ignore health protocols. He said it was important for the government to deliver a consistent message to the public by setting a good example.
"The President or any government officials should not be seen taking pictures or talking without masks," he said.
Besides the lack of discipline, Bayu also believed the government had failed to improve testing capacity, patient quarantine measures and contact tracing.
"Previously, the government said that it would increase its testing capacity to 10,000 per day, but to this day it has not been able to meet that target," he said.
"Singapore for instance had successfully put COVID-19 under control by conducting massive and quick testing and tracing. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the government has done little contact tracing for each confirmed case," he added.
Considering the current situation, Bayu said, the pandemic might only be over after most residents contract the disease and develop immunity, unless the government finds a vaccine for the coronavirus.
"Seeing the government's current [COVID-19] response, our hopes now lay on vaccine development," he said. (nal)