Epidemiologist: Economic Crisis Not Caused by PSBB

IDNEWSNOW.COM, Jakarta – An epidemiologist with the Public Health Faculty of the University of Indonesia (FKM UI) Pandu Riono viewed that the large-scale social restriction (PSBB) is not the cause behind the current crippling economic crisis.

“What cripples the economy is not the PSBB but the uncontrolled pandemic,” Pandu said in a webinar held by Bappenas on Friday, October 23.

He argued if the pandemic can be controlled, the economic recovery can run smoothly. Before the pandemic is under control, he went on, the middle-class economies don’t want to spend their money yet.

“So, the economy is halted since the spending is low. It was shown by the study done by the economic and social science experts,” Pandu said.

He said that PSBB is a short-term solution to reduce the case. The same goes for tightening the surveillance and promoting health protocols, such as wearing masks, washing hands, and physical distancing.

According to Pandu, the government must strengthen its surveillance, as well as the testing, tracing, and implementation of health measures among society.

“PSBB can be relaxed but slowly. Still have to [do it] carefully. So, later, the government can revoke the emergency status,” he said.

Pandu also iterated that vaccine is a long-term solution to the Covid-19 issue. “A vaccine cannot make this disease disappear. The disease can be an endemic, not a pandemic [anymore].”

He said that the main thing is not ending the Covid-19 but controlling it, so it no longer poses a problem in the future. So, the disease will be the same as any other disease, which, even though it’s infectious, it can still be controlled.

Once it’s under control and the health system is ready, normal activities can also be reintroduced, “but with strong surveillance and society that seriously implements health protocols. [And] That must be above 85 percent,” the epidemiologist said.

Therefore, according to Pandu, the government’s communication to the public in promoting the change of behavior must continue. The government should also make development plans that are halted during the pandemic period.   

He asserted that it is important to have good planning since especially, a vaccination would need a reliable public health system. He also asked the government not to rushed in dealing with this pandemic. 

“Public health centers (puskesmas), hospitals, vaccination officers, and others should be well prepared in the long-term,” the epidemiologist remarked.

Read: Jakarta Lifts PSBB; Will Pull ‘Emergency Brake’ if COVID-19 Cases Soar Again


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