The COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia, which has been going on for almost 11 months, has yet to show signs of ending and had now exceeded 1 million cases as of Tuesday 26th January.
This figure is an accumulation of all positive tests since the first local case was announced on 2nd March 2020. Globally, there has now been more than 100 million confirmed cases of the virus and over 2.1 million deaths.
Responding to this figure, President Joko Widodo summoned a number of ministers to the Presidential Palace to hold a closed meeting. One of those who attended the meeting was Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
After the meeting, the Health Minister explained that there are two meanings behind the COVID-19 cases. The first meaning, said Budi, is that it’s Indonesia’s time to grieve because, with the increasing number of cases, many patients have died. In fact, more than 600 health workers have died whilst facing the pandemic.
“Maybe some of our close family and close friends have left us. That is the first moment we have to go through, that there is a deep sense of grief from the government, from all Indonesian people over this figure,” said Budi.
The second meaning of the case numbers is that extra hard work must continue. By persisting with efforts, the sacrifices that have been made by health workers will not be in vain.
According to Budi, the 1 million COVID-19 cases indicates that all Indonesians and the government must work together to tackle the pandemic even harder by taking two big steps.
The first step is implementing a disciplined virus prevention health protocol. Budi admitted that the discipline of wearing masks, washing hands diligently, and maintaining a distance is not easy.
“We have to make sure we work hard to remind ourselves, our friends, our families, and all the people in our environment so that we obey our health protocols,” said Budi.
The second step is to work hard on testing, tracing, and treatment (3T). Budi promised that the Ministry of Health will ensure that the 3T process runs well.
Meanwhile, by providing a comfortable isolation area for patients who are confirmed positive for COVID-19, the recovery rate can be increased. Thus, cases of death can also be reduced.
If the rate of virus transmission can be controlled, the heavy burden on health care facilities can be reduced. Thus, related parties, including health workers, will have more time to respond to this pandemic.
“We can gradually reduce the transmission of this virus until, God willing, one day we can eliminate it completely or eradicate this virus,” said Budi.
Indonesia became the first country in Southeast Asia to record a total of 1 million cases of coronavirus infection. Data released by the COVID-19 Task Force on Tuesday 26th January reported the addition of 13,094 cases, bringing the total to 1,012,350 cases.
Second to Indonesia in Southeast Asia is the Philippines with 516,166 cases and 10,386 deaths. Malaysia occupies the third position with 186,849 cases and 689 deaths, Myanmar is fourth with 137,957 cases and 3,069 deaths, and Singapore occupies the fifth position with 59,366 cases and 29 deaths.