The government temporarily blocks the foreigners that travel to Indonesia from January 1 to 14, 2020.
According to Bayu Satria as a UGM epidemiologist, restricting mobility from abroad is considered a good step to prevent transmission to prevent a new Covid-19 strain entry. According to various scientific data, this mutation has a faster contagious rate.
"This is a good step to prevent transmission from foreigners, especially ones from Britain, Europe, and South Africa, which are believed to have appeared in new Covid-19 mutations," he explained.
Nevertheless, Bayu urged that the limitation of mobility itself could be implemented without total blockage. The prerequisites in the addendum regarding the Covid-19 Handling Task Force Circular letter that was previously implemented are expected to be effective in screening those at risk of infection.
This prerequisite itself requires that those who arrive in Indonesia must prove themselves to have a negative result through the RT-PCR test in their origin country, which can be valid a maximum of 2 × 24 hours before the time of departure, and foreigners must attach it to the officer at the time of the health check or e-HAC (Indonesia Health Alert Card / Kartu Indonesia International Electronic Health Precautions.
Besides, upon arrival in Indonesia, they are required to re-conduct the RT-PCR. If their results are negative, the foreigner shall implement mandatory quarantine for five days from the date of arrival. After the five days quarantine, when their RT-PCR results are out and show negative results, visitors can proceed their travels.
"It doesn't have to be a total blockage, as long as there is a restriction such as a 5-day quarantine and PCR at the beginning and the end," he said.
He explained that this is a form of limitation. The implementation of this restriction should not just be done for a few weeks but beyond, at least until the Covid-19 cases in those countries that have been mentioned are decreased.
Regarding the new strain of the Covid-19 virus, Bayu revealed that the new mutation that occurred was deemed to have induced an increase in transmission capacity. Therefore, if this new strain came to Indonesia, it is believed that it can increase Covid-19 transmission in Indonesia.
Nevertheless, the transmission method for this virus strain endures the same as the developed strain beforehand, so the handling method is nearly the same.
"Indeed, the transmission is even faster, however, because the prevention is still the same, as long as the community prevails the '3M disciplines', we will be safe," said Bayu.
Noticing the number of Covid-19 cases that is relatively high in Indonesia and the potential of an increasingly massive transmission, he hopes that the government will reconsider several policies, such as plans to reopen schools in the upcoming semester.
"Not only because of the mutations, but indeed some policies ought to be reconsidered because the condition becomes more severe," he added.
Especially towards the end year holidays, if there are no strict preventive measures such as PSBB at the regional level or crowd restrictions, Bayu estimated that there would be an increase in cases in the 10 to 14 days after holidays.
"We possibly witness the number of daily cases which will touch 8 thousand to 9 thousand approximately," he said.
Translator: Natasa A