Jakarta (ANTARA) - National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo called on his ranks to be wary of the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, by helping to expedite vaccinations and tighten health protocols.

"We have to be more vigilant and obey tight health protocols, as transmission of the Omicron variant is five times faster," Prabowo noted in a written statement regarding his working visit to Gorontalo on Thursday.

The police chief later remarked that the Health Ministry had announced about the finding of the Omicron variant in Indonesia. Hence, preventive efforts were deemed necessary to curb the spread of the virus, including by accelerating vaccination to build herd immunity.

The four-star general criticized the uneven vaccination coverage in several areas where some regions have reached 90 to 100 percent, while in other areas, the vaccination coverage was below 70 percent.

"We must immediately expedite vaccination, especially in areas where vaccination coverage is still low. It is our responsibility to achieve and catch up with this gap and maintain the achievements that have been obtained," he remarked.

Prabowo also noted that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had assigned the National Police to pursue the 70-percent vaccination coverage target by the end of December 2021.

To achieve the target, Prabowo called for putting in place a strategy in addition to collaboration among all relevant parties, right from the National Police (Polri), Indonesia Defense Forces (TNI), local governments, and volunteers to elements of the community.

He also lauded Indonesia's successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic as was apparent from the low positivity rate and the bed occupancy rates at hospitals that are still normal.

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However, Prabowo reminded all elements to always maintain this achievement since it brought hope for the community and had a positive impact on Indonesia's economic growth.

Prabowo also called on the public to comply with health protocols ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays to curb the spread of COVID-19 by minimizing mobility.

"Let us take care of each other," he remarked.

The public's compliance with health protocols and Indonesia's ability to control the COVID-19 pandemic are at stake for Indonesia, which organizes the G20 Presidency in 2022, he affirmed.

"If we can control the spread of COVID-19, we can encourage economic growth by attracting investment," he noted.

During his work visit to Gorontalo, Prabowo also monitored the implementation of vaccinations around Indonesia, such as in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua, and West Papua, through teleconference.

During the teleconference, Prabowo urged the regional police chief and regional heads to realize the target of 70-percent nationwide vaccination coverage, with two weeks left.

"We must pursue President Jokowi's target by completing 70 percent of the vaccination by the end of 2021," he emphasized.

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Translator: Laily R, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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