As the number of “persons under investigation” in Indonesia reaches a toll of 165,549 to date, the government is now urging anyone who has symptoms of the deadly virus to self-isolate.
The term “person under investigation”, or locally known as orang dalam pemerhatian (ODP), is used to describe an individual suspected of having COVID-19.
A person will be listed as ODP if they are found to have a fever of more than 38 degree Celsius without pneumonia or have travelled to an infected area within 14 days before showing symptoms of the disease.
This person will be recommended to self-isolate so that the person will not transfer it to others.
The government’s spokesperson for COVID-19, Achmad Yurianto said in a dialogue at the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (BNPB) in Jakarta on Wednesday (15 April) afternoon that self-isolation should be carried out “when a person has any symptom [of coronavirus]”.
However, Mr Achmad said that it does not mean one should self-isolate from the community.
“This is physical distancing and not societal isolation. [It is] not something that will cause someone to be ostracized or exiled later,” he added.
Mr Achmad explained that self-isolation can be conducted even when you are living with family or meeting relatives as long as the person keeps a safe distance of at least two meters from the others and wears a mask.
“Therefore, self-isolation does not mean that you will not be able to meet your relatives, parents, and children. Social contact is allowed but you have to keep the safe distance,” said Mr Achmad.
It was reported earlier that some villages in Maluku province and Aceh province have imposed self-isolation for villagers who have returned from travelling outside their province or who are back to their hometown earlier to celebrate Hari Raya.
Mr Achmad applauded the action taken by village administrations to implement such systems.
However, he said that if the self-isolation is conducted at a place provided by the village administration, the administration should ensure that it is comfortable for ODP to stay and rest.
Village administrations should also be able to provide basic needs, as well as ensure that safe distancing is maintained and supervised by medical personnel, added Mr Achmad.
People affected by the self-isolation requirement should avoid undergoing stress, as this will lead to a reduction in their immunity.
Self-isolation should be done after notifying the local public health centre.
By doing so, medical personnel will be assigned to monitor the patients’ condition while continuously educating ODP about the correct way to deal with COVID-19.
This education is also given to COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
“When a patient is recovered from the disease, they can be an agent of change for the people in his family circle or in the neighbourhood to understand well about COVID-19,” he said.
He hoped that the community will understand that the virus should not cause panic and it can be cured.
Therefore, he urged the community to not go back to their hometown.
For those who have no choice but to travel to their hometowns, however, Mr Achmad said that such persons should keep a safe distance between each other, avoid greetings by shaking hands, and regularly wash their hands.
“We don’t know if the people we meet on the road have been infected,” he said. “Don’t be a COVID-19 carrier.”
Mr Achmad disclosed that an estimated 60 per cent to 70 per cent of people are not aware of having the coronavirus, as they show no symptoms.
The same day, Mr Achmad said in an online teleconference that the number of ODP has increased.
As of 15 April at 12.00pm, the number of ODP has reached 165,549, while patient under investigation (PDP) stands at 11,165.
Meanwhile, the total tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 5,136 with 446 recovered and 469 deaths.
In Indonesia, the cases of the novel coronavirus has spread to all 34 provinces nationwide, where the top five infected provinces are Jakarta, East Java, South Sulawesi, West Java, and Bali.
With the increasing number of confirmed cases and suspects, Mr Achmad once again reminded people to work together and keep each other safe.
“Please respect and help those who are doing self-isolation in their home or in group in their neighbourhood. Don’t discriminate the recovered patient. Don’t refuse the body of COVID-19 patient,” he noted.