Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government could push active COVID-19 cases down to 100 thousand per day if it continues to enforce community activity restrictions, Dr. Iwan Ariawan, an epidemiologist from University of Indonesia, has said.

"Such a target could be achieved if the community activity restrictions policy is continuously enforced," he said in a written statement received in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Upgrading or downgrading the community activity restrictions policy level must be based on each district or city's COVID-19 indicators, he added. Leeway must also be granted carefully and thoughtfully, and go hand-in-hand with preventive measures to avoid infection spread, he said.

Consistent enforcement of health protocols and the use of PeduliLindungi application have grown increasingly important, Ariawan stressed.

President Joko Widodo is optimistic that active COVID-19 cases can dip below 100 thousand per day by the end of September 2021, he noted. That is a reasonable hope, given that 150 daily cases were recorded in the last few days, Ariawan said.

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He then urged everyone to anticipate a third wave or the entry of a new variant of the virus. Apart from enforcing strict health protocols, mass vaccination programs need to be immediately carried out in order to inoculate more citizens, he said.

"Including children under 12 years old. Of course, after a vaccine is proven safe for them," he suggested.

Aside from the enforcement of health protocols and vaccinations, strict screening must also be carried out by officers at all entry points to Indonesian territories, including small ports, he said.

"The quality of testing and tracing must continuously be improved," he added.

If there is a rapid spread of cases in one area, it is best to immediately perform a whole genome sequencing (WGS) examination, Ariawan said. WGS is a comprehensive technique used in the process of sequencing DNA into a complete genome image, he added.

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Translator: M Zulfikar, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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