Luhut: We’re Prepared for Rising Cases of Omicron Variant

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Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, and Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin make a statement to the press after the Limited Cabinet Meeting on the Evaluation of Social Activities Restriction (PPKM), on Monday (03/01/2022), at the Presidential Office, Jakarta. (Photo: PR of Cabinet Secretariat/Jay)

Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has announced that the Government is preparing measures to anticipate rising cases of the Omicron variant, including preparing health facilities, medicine, as well as boosting vaccine rollout.

“I think our preparation in anticipating the Omicron variant cases is under control but we remain cautious. [The preparation] includes boosting vaccine rollout by Minister of Health, as well as medicines and hospitals,” the Minister said in his press statement after Limited Cabinet Meeting on the evaluation of social activities restriction (PPKM) led by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, at the Presidential Office, Jakarta, Monday (03/01).

Luhut added that as of today the Omicron variant has been detected in 132 countries, including Indonesia, with the number of cases in Indonesia reaching 152 cases, placing Indonesia at the 40th position.

“The number of Omicron cases in Indonesia has reached 152 (cases) with 23 percent of the patients having recovered. So, we see that the number is not that many compared to that in other countries,” he added.

However, Luhut ensured that this time the Government has made preparation to prevent the spread of Omicron variant in the country, better than  when Delta variant broke out.

“We have prepared everything needed. So, we are prepared better a lot. I repeat, much better than June last year. Doctors are more prepared this time,” he said.

The Minister also emphasized said that according to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s directives, the Government will impose a stricter quarantine monitoring for international travelers based on the prevailing rules.

“We cannot give more discretions because we only refer to Instruction of Minister of Home Affairs. Otherwise, as the President just reminded us, we will not be disciplined,” he said.

Luhut added that discipline is the key to controlling Omicron variant, adding that many countries are experiencing spike in Omicron cases due to discipline issues, especially in observing health protocols.

“Discipline in wearing masks, getting vaccinated, washing hands, and so on. So, the key is discipline,” he said.

Nevertheless, Luhut acknowledged that Indonesians have been more highly disciplined in observing health protocols, especially in wearing masks compared to those in other countries that are experiencing the spike of Omicron cases.

In addition, routine evaluation on the COVID-19 pandemic development and handling conducted by the Government, he said, has contributed to controlling the pandemic, adding that the Government also continues to involve experts from numerous universities in tackling the pandemic.

“We also involve and cooperate with our experts from University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University, and Airlangga University who are very qualified. So, we don’t have to feel that we are left behind from other countries,” he remarked. (DND/UN) (AW/EP).

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