Jakarta. The Indonesian government claimed on Monday the Covid-19 outbreak has been relatively under control as shown by the lowest ever transmission rate of the disease and a steady decline in newly cases and deaths during the past few weeks.
Two senior ministers tasked with Covid-19 response said the highest risk level has been lifted from a vast majority of districts and cities, but warned that the struggle is far from over and people must stay vigilant against the possible third wave of infections.
“The Covid-19 pandemic situation keeps showing progress and an estimate by epidemiologists of the University of Indonesia’s Medicine Faculty indicates that the effective reproduction number is now below one -- 0.98 to be precise -- for the first time since the pandemic began,” Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said in a news conference in Jakarta.
The effective reproduction number, or Rt, measures the potential spread of an infectious disease in a susceptible population at a specific time under controlled measures.
An Rt of below 1 means that an infected person passes the disease to one other person or none. In comparison, the common influenza has an Rt of 1.4 to 1.7.
“This number also means that the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia is now under control. That’s what our advisory team has said,” Luhut said.
“All the teams have been working hard for this number and it pays off.”
Luhut added that no districts and cities across Java and Bali are currently under the highest Covid-19 risk level.
But Luhut said the outbreak could return anytime, pointing to some other countries who have claimed early success in controlling the pandemic only to see a dramatic surge in new cases.
“We must remain vigilant because there is always a risk of another surge at anytime,” Luhut said.
Of 514 districts and cities, only 10 remain under the level four or the highest of the country’s Covid-19 alert system, Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said at the same video conference.
It represents a significant progress from 23 high-risk districts and cities he announced last week.
The 10 include Aceh Tamiang and Pidie in the province of Aceh; Bangka (Bangka Belitung); Padang (West Sumatra); Banjarbaru and Banjarmasin (South Kalimantan); Balikpapan and Kutai Kartanegara (East Kalimantan); and Tarakan and Bulungan (North Kalimantan).
Provinces beyond Java and Bali islands now have a 62 percent contribution to the total number of active cases countrywide, Airlangga said.
The total number of active Covid-19 cases currently stands at 55,936, representing a steep drop from more than 580,000 active cases during the peak on July 24.
The daily tally of new cases was under the 2,000 mark for the first time since August 24 of last year. Luhut said the number was a decrease by 98 percent on the highest daily count recorded on July 15.
The government has allowed in-person learning in over 100,000 schools and the reopening of shopping malls and cinemas with a 50 percent capacity limit in most cities.
Last week, the immigration office announced resumption of visa services for international visitors.