Jokowi Reminded the Public to Wear Masks, What Is the Reason?

Jokowi asks the public to wear masks again in public areas.

Be alert, the pandemic isn’t over yet! Covid-19 cases in Indonesia in the last two months have continued to increase. Additional new cases in the last week even penetrated 29.13%. Jokowi spoke up regarding the increase.

Based on data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), additional Covid-19 cases over the past week (4-10 July 2022) reached 17,388, up 29.13% compared to the previous week (27 June-3 July 2022) which was recorded at 13,466. This means that Covid-19 cases in Indonesia have always increased in the last seven weeks.

Covid-19 cases in Indonesia began to surge at the end of May this year following the entry of the BA.4, BA.5 subvariant. The increase in cases even jumped 105.7% on June 13-19. The increase was sloping three weeks ago to 63.1%, two weeks ago by 8.81%, and rose again to 29.13% in the past week.

The high number of Covid-19 cases cannot be separated from the increasing number of additional cases reported from Jakarta, West Java, and Banten. These three provinces are the epicenters of the third wave of Covid-19 triggered by the Omicron variant and the BA.4, BA.5 subvariants.

On Thursday last week, additional Covid-19 cases even reached 2,881, or the highest since April 1, 2022, or more than three months. Cases then sloped towards the weekend and recorded 2,576 on Sunday (10/7/2022).

Jakarta and West Java are still the centers of the spread of Covid-19. In the past week, additional Covid cases in Jakarta reached 9,309, an increase of 24.3% compared to the previous week. Meanwhile, cases in West Java jumped 26.4% to 3,275.

An increase also occurred in the positivity rate. The average positivity rate in the past week has reached 5.45%. This level is above the safe limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO) which is 5%.

The positivity rate is much higher than the previous week which was recorded at 3.62%. Yesterday, the positivity rate even broke 8.50%, or the highest since March 17, 2022, or the last 3.5 months. Cases of death in the last week increased slightly to 38 people from the previous week which recorded 32 people.

Furthermore, the increase in Covid-19 cases is not only experienced by Indonesia. Most ASEAN countries to South Korea are reporting an increase in cases. Singapore reported 63,070 cases in the past week, up 7.12%.

Covid cases in Malaysia soared 28.19% in a week to 22,083 while cases in South Korea jumped by 92% to 122,257.

Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist and researcher from Griffith University, Australia, said the increase in cases in Indonesia and other countries was the impact of the spread of the BA.4, BA.5 subvariance.

The easing of health protocols and community mobility also contributed to increasing the spread. He warned that the BA.4, BA.5 variant virus develops rapidly in the upper respiratory tract and is more frequently detected in the nose.

Most countries in the world have relaxed health protocols, especially the use of masks outdoors.

Singapore has not required the use of masks outdoors since March 29, Malaysia since May 1, South Korea since May 2, Indonesia since May 18, and Thailand since June 23.

These countries have not yet made it mandatory to wear masks outdoors again, although positive cases continue to increase.

Indonesia itself has not confirmed that it is mandatory to use masks outside again. However, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) asked for masks to be used both indoors and outdoors.

“I also want to remind all of us that Covid-19 still exists. Therefore, both indoors and outdoors, wearing a mask is still a must,” said Jokowi, as quoted on Monday (11/7/2022).