Following the involvement of the military and police personnel in efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indonesian government now plans to recruit volunteers to help make a new normal scenario in the country possible.
The plan was made as the government still lacks personnel in the fields in its efforts to curb the surging number of the COVID-19 patients in the country, despite the recent deployment of military and police personnel to help discipline people in exercising health protocols.
Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Muhadjir Effendy has gained approval from President Joko Widodo to recruit volunteers who are expected to help trace more people likely infected with the virus.
The minister said after attending a recent cabinet meeting that the president had the rapid tests optimized according to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards by considering the ratio of the total population.
The president told a cabinet meeting that the target of 10,000 COVID-19 rapid tests per day has been reached, and he now wanted to increase the target to 20,000 tests or even 30,000 tests daily across the country.
According to an international data organization, Our World in Data, per June 5 Indonesia only carried out 0.94 rapid test per 1,000 population.
As Indonesia has over 260 million people, the optimum number of rapid tests should be at least 30,000 per day, and it is in line with the president’s expectation.
According to Minister Effendy, only one-fifth of the tracing can be carried out under the 30,000 rapid tests, and therefore, a massive tracking has to be correctly and carefully made.
The minister asserted that the 30,000 rapid tests per day was expected to be carried out to support the government’s efforts before lifting the large-scale social restrictions.
For the purpose, the government plans to recruit volunteers who have health and medical educational and training backgrounds, including the final-semester students majoring in midwifery, nursing, and public health to participate in the massive rapid test program.
According to him, 464 more people had been discharged from hospitals, making the total number of recovered patients stand at 9,907.
The pandemic has spread to all the 34 provinces in the archipelagic country. However, as of 12:00 p.m. Jakarta time on Saturday, no more positive cases were found in five provinces, namely, Aceh, Bengkulu, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara.
The government has recently deployed soldiers and policemen to four provinces, namely, Jakarta, West Java, West Sumatra and Gorontalo as well as 25 districts/cities which have been applying the large-scale social distancing policy.
The Indonesian Armed Forces’ Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said his soldiers have been posted in public areas including traditional markets, tourist sites, traffic, shopping centers, railway and bus stations where the health protocols are implemented.
The cooperation among the stakeholders was expected to meet the people’s wish that they would resume activities free from the COVID-19 infections, Tjahjanto said, hoping that the R0 (a measure of a disease’s potential) would drop to 0.7 or even lower in the four provinces and 25 districts/cities.
According to the chief, nearly 350,000 army men and policemen have been sent to 1,800 points of the health protocols in those provinces and districts/cities.