Jakarta (ANTARA) - An expert from the Center of Indonesian Public Health Experts Association Hermawan Saputra has suggested the government to not rush to ease public activity restrictions (PPKM) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The PPKM will not be implemented from this Monday. I think PPKM will still be an option because several regions are at level 4, level 3, and also level 2," Saputra noted in a written statement received on Sunday night.

The expert opined that easing the restrictions tended to have a boomerang effect due to the likelihood of triggering a spike in follow-up cases.

The last fortnight has seen quite a high level of community activities at various public service places, and offices along with the traffic also picking up. Hence, Saputra has reminded people to stay vigilant.

"This easing or relaxation must be interpreted with extreme caution and not in the same rhythm from one region to another," he emphasized.

According to the expert, data shows that some areas were still recording a surge in COVID-19 cases, while there were relatively low cases in other areas.

Saputra is optimistic of a prudent response from the public and business sectors to the declining number of cases without excessive euphoria on account of a lingering possibility of the number of cases spiking in future.

"There should not be a significant increase in the number of cases, especially with the surfacing of the new Mu variant. Do not allow the new variant to spread massively akin to the Delta variant in June-July," he remarked.

Several countries, such as the US and Australia, have borne witness to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, according to Saputra.

“Although Americans have been vaccinated, the likelihood of the number of cases increasing is high, as there are new variants and easing everywhere. Hence, the world remains vigilant. The WHO has not revoked the pandemic status. Indonesia should not be euphoric," he affirmed.

On the other hand, the government should continue to improve testing and tracing in a bid to track cases.

"The community must also conduct themselves in a responsible manner. Maintain health protocols despite relaxation or easing, as there must be no exceptions," he emphasized.

The Ministry of Health reported a continued decline in the daily positivity rate for COVID-19 in Indonesia, reaching 51.62 percent in June 2021. However, on Sunday, the figure fell to 3.05 percent.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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