"The government must tighten entry points to prevent Omicron variant. Don’t let Indonesia experience a third wave of COVID-19 cases,” Maarif Institute researcher Endang Tirtana said in Jakarta on Saturday.
The coronavirus which was first detected in Wuhan, China, in 2020 is believed to have five times as many mutations as the previous variant, he said.
The Omicron variant has been detected in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini.
When the Delta variant emerged, Indonesia was late to take preventive and anticipatory measures so that the COVID-19 cases spiked out of control in mid-2021, he said.
The government must take a swift and firm step to prevent the Omicron variant. Several Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia and Singapore have tightly supervised flights from abroad, he said.
"Don’t let us face a third wave after Christmas and New Year celebrations. The government must stand firm in this regard," he said.
He recommended several measures to prevent the new variant from entering Indonesia by tightening health protocols for international travelers entering Indonesia. The measures included making PCR swab test and quarantine compulsory for international travellers.
"The public should avoid travelling ahead of Christmas and New Year as part of effort to prevent the transmission and spread of COVID-19," he said.
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