Jakarta, 16/2/2022 (ANTARA) - Indonesia is currently witnessing the third wave of COVID-19 infections triggered by the Omicron variant, which, though less deadly, is much more infectious than the Delta variant.
The country added 64,718 daily COVID-19 cases on February 16, 2022, surpassing the second waves peak single-day addition of 56,757 cases on July 15, 2021.
Most of the new infections reported were contributed by West Java (14,058), followed by Jakarta (9,482), East Java (7,528), Banten (6,509), Central Java (3,514), and Bali (1,862), according to the Task Force for COVID-19 Handling.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indonesia in March 2020, while the Ministry of Health detected the first Omicron infection on December 15, 2021.
As of February 15, 2022, the countrys total COVID-19 case count has reached 4,901,328, while total recoveries have been recorded at 4,349,848 and total deaths at 145,455.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 spike, the situation is relatively under control as the hospital bed occupancy rate is quite low, and medicines and supporting facilities are adequately available, officials said.
Taking note of the surge, President Joko
Widodo (Jokowi) has asked citizens to remain calm and disciplined in
implementing the health protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19
"I call on the people at large to stay calm, disciplined in implementing the health protocols, and reduce their unnecessary activities," he tweeted on his official Twitter account on February 13, 2022.
Omicron is more transmissible, but its infection fatality rate is less severe than the Delta variant, he noted while urging unvaccinated Indonesians to get the shots immediately.
"The COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are also needed for eligible persons who fully get vaccinated," he said.
To suppress infections, the government has intensified its vaccination drive. As of February 15, the number of people receiving the full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine reached 136,647,928.
Meanwhile, the number of people receiving the first dose reached 188,590,685, and 7,277,382 people were administered the third or booster dose.
In response to the case surge, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has advised patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms to get treated at home since hospitals need to prioritize patients with moderate and severe symptoms.
"We are expecting that if a patient is experiencing no symptoms (asymptomatic) or mild symptoms, they can be treated at home. Out of 27 thousand COVID-19 patients in hospitals, more than around 15 thousand are actually asymptomatic patients or those with mild symptoms," Sadikin noted during a press conference on February 14, 2022.
The government has provided telemedicine services to more than 350 thousand citizens so far, and around 100 thousand of them have received medicines since January 2022, he informed.
Sadikin said that the government is also looking
to provide telemedicine services to regions outside Java and Bali
starting this week.
Providing details of the current pandemic situation, Health Ministry's infectious disease prevention and control director, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, informed that the number of positive Omicron cases has exceeded Delta cases.
However, the hospital bed occupancy rate (BOR) has been recorded at 32.85 percent, which is much lower compared to the peak occupancy of 77.32 percent during last year's infection wave that was triggered by the Delta variant.
The government has increased the bed capacity for COVID-19 patients from 88,455 to 91,018, she said.
"So far, isolation beds and ICUs in hospitals for patients are still sufficient," she assured.
Furthermore, the task force has urged the public to remain disciplined in carrying out health protocols, including wearing masks, washing hands with soap and water, keeping physical distance, avoiding crowds, and reducing mobility.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the COVID-19 handling task force, Wiku Adisasmito has confirmed that there has been a sharper jump in cases nationwide compared to the second wave.
"This increase in COVID-19 positive cases also has an impact on the death trend, which is currently rising. The good news is that the increase (in the number of deaths) in the third wave is much lower than that during the second wave," he said.
Although the number of deaths has been lower, the spokesperson highlighted the importance of suppressing COVID-19 cases, especially to protect people vulnerable to the virus.
"Taking preventive steps to not get infected is the best way to save lives, especially for older adults, people with comorbidities, and unvaccinated people," he said.
He urged people to remain alert because there is still a risk for older adults, children, people with comorbidities, and unvaccinated people.
Data from the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA) Ministry has shown that a total of 620,784 children have been exposed to COVID-19 as of February 11, 2022, accounting for 13.3 percent of the total confirmed cases.
the meantime, the main expert at the Presidential Staff Office (KSP),
Brian Sri Prahastuti, has assured that the government has strengthened
health facility services to deal with the latest COVID-19 spike.
The government has strengthened health facilities for referral hospitals and primary health centers, clinics, and telemedicine services, she said.
"The capacity of health facilities depends on the number of health workers, the availability of drugs, and medical equipment, including the number of beds, ICUs, ventilators, and oxygen. All of these have been strengthened to (strike a) balance with the number of cases," Prahastuti informed.
Besides, the government has also reactivated funding for healthcare workers' incentives, providing drugs, and treating COVID-19 patients, including recruiting doctors for emergency hospitals, hospitals, and health centers, she said.
"We are also closely monitoring the alertness of the COVID-19 task force at the center and the regions, especially for potential crises," she added.
The government has also tightened border controls to make sure that international travelers undergo COVID-19 tests and mandatory quarantine, she said.