Jakarta (ANTARA) - The enforcement of Public Activity Restrictions (PPKM) has been extended several times over the past few weeks and that has made people question its effectiveness in bringing down COVID-19 transmission.

Many have opined that the PPKM policy has not done much to control COVID-19 transmission in the country.

However, data has shown that the PPKM has indeed led to a 56.9-percent reduction in COVID-19 cases in a number of areas with high risk of transmission, or 'red zones.'

Spokesperson for the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Jodi Mahardi, said the implementation of the PPKM from July 3 to July 20, 2021, and the Level 1 and 2 PPKM, which took effect from July 21, 2021 and is in place currently, has made a significant impact on daily cases of COVID-19.

He informed that since July 15, 2021, there has been a decline of 59.6 percent in daily confirmed cases, and the current cases reproduction rate stands at 1.2-1.5.

The government will always continue to strive to lower the reproduction rate by implementing several strategies, namely accelerating vaccinations; imposing the health protocols of 3Ms, which comprise “menggunakan masker” (mask-wearing), “mencuci tangan” (hand-washing), and “menjaga jarak” (social-distancing); and, conducting testing, tracing, and treatment (3Ts), he said.

He then lauded and thanked the TNI and police, who have been involved in implementing the health protocols and have been helping the government in accelerating vaccinations to lower the number of COVID-19 cases.

Related news: 3T, health protocols crucial to handling COVID-19 in Bali: Minister

Public Awareness
No policy can ever be a success if the public does not take part in it, and that includes COVID-19 handling. Discipline in obeying the policies will definitely give good results.

Spokesperson for the Indonesian Police, Brig. Gen Pol. Rusdi Hartono, has underlined that public awareness is the key to reducing COVID-19.

According to him, people have become much more aware about the need for following the health protocols, and that has helped the PPKM program succeed in reducing COVID-19 cases.

The government seems to have handled COVID-19 holistically from upstream to downstream, he said. All steps have been carried out in an integrated manner between agencies through the involvement of the TNI and Police as well as volunteers and students as a form of mutual cooperation from all elements of society, he noted.

The government has also continued to ensure the availability of beds, both in hospitals and centralized isolation facilities in various areas, including the need for health workers, medicines, oxygen, medical devices, medical devices, and equipment, as well as patient's food needs, he pointed out.

In early July 2021, the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths continued to increase to cross two thousand.

Officials have attributed the higher number of deaths to delay in patient handling. Most of the people who died of COVID-19 were taken to the hospital when they were already in a critical condition and many people preferred to conduct self-isolation at home rather than in isolation centers where they could have been monitored by health personnel, they said.

Taking note of various indications related to the deaths of COVID-19 patients, the government has made several efforts such as increasing beds in isolation centers in various regions and encouraging people to conduct isolation at isolation centers.

In Yogyakarta and Solo, Group 2 of the Army's Special Forces was deployed to mobilize patients self-isolating at home to go to isolation centers so that they could be supervised by health personnel.

Related news: Tightening health protocols key to reduce COVID cases: expert

Be aware, stay aware
Speaking on the effectiveness of the PPKM in lowering the virus transmission, Health Ministry spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi said the implementation of Level 4 PPKM has cut COVID-19 cases by almost 60 percent.

However, she reiterated, the nation needs to stay aware of the infection surge in provinces outside Java and Bali. She appealed to citizens to follow the health protocols strictly even as the government continues to make efforts to reduce virus transmission through regulations and vaccinations.

Earlier, Indonesian Police spokesperson, Brig. Gen Pol. Rusdi Hartono, had said that Level 4 PPKM has proved effective in reducing the rate of COVID-19 cases in the country.

He said he was grateful the public, along with the TNI and police, has shown the same determination to control the transmission of COVID-19, emphasizing that the efforts will pay off.

Meanwhile, sociologist Imam Prasodjo, has reiterated the need for involving all sections of the society for overcoming the transmission of COVID-19.

He said he believed that it is necessary to put up a 'collective defense' to win the war against COVID-19. Not only the government or the TNI and police, but all citizens must also be proactively involved in COVID-19 handling, he added.

Everyone must remain disciplined in implementing the health protocols, and those who have not been vaccinated yet must get vaccinated without delay to boost their immune response.

One more thing that people need to pay attention to is nutritious food intake which is crucial to strengthen immune response.

After all, as a nation, what we have to do now is to support and help each other because every human being in Indonesia has his or her own role in the Pentahelix collaboration for handling COVID-19.

Everyone needs to play a role to achieve mutual success: the government has to take part in making the best policies, the media has to take part in conveying information to the public, then experts and academics have to take part in giving constructive critiques and suggestions regarding COVID-19 handling.

The private sector can support government policies so that COVID-19 handling can run smoothly.

And finally, citizens must obey the policies implemented by the government in order to achieve the desired outcome: winning the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related news: Minister confirms 78.3 million Indonesians received COVID vaccine jab

Translator: Hanni Sofia, Raka Adji
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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