UNAIR Epidemiologist: swab test regulation removal should be postponed

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Swab test illustration. (Photo: Mufid Majnum/unsplash)

UNAIR NEWS – The government officially removed domestic travelers’ antigen and PCR test requirements a few days ago. Some special requirements follow this regulation. One of them requires domestic travelers to receive a minimum of a second dose of vaccine.

Epidemiology expert of Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) Dr M Atoillah Isfandiari dr MKes stated that this regulation is not on target. In his opinion, the regulation should target domestic travelers who have received the booster vaccine.

He mentioned that this would increase safety during travel. Moreover, the regulation could also push people to take booster vaccination.

“In reality, some people are vaccinated not because of getting immunity. But to be able to access things that cannot be accessed without the vaccine,” he uttered on Thursday, March 10, 2022.

Epidemology expert of Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) Dr M Atoillah Isfandiari dr MKes.

Positive cases are difficult to detect

Furthermore , dr Ato mentioned that the regulation could make positive case detection harder. Removing Antigen and PCR test requirements will omit one of the most significant contributors of Covid-19 tracing.

“When mobility increases, ISPA risk will also increase. On the other side, we do not know the increasing ISPA is caused by covid or not,” he expressed.

Regulation implementation is necessary to be postponed

Vice Dean II of the Faculty of Public Health (FKM) also stated that the third wave has peaked and has experienced a decrease. However, the daily case is still considered high. Dr Ato added that a rushed implementation of the regulation would increase daily cases and transmission risk.

In his opinion, removing the antigen and PCR test requirement regulation for domestic travel should be postponed for the next two weeks. Postponing it will also make the condition more stable during Ramadan and the homecoming season.

“If we could be patient for two more weeks. We can be at the same position as last January, at the base of the wave. Now we are still on the wave slope,” he revealed.

Prevent transmission with 3M

In preventing transmission, the Epidemiology Expert also suggested that people should not let their guard down to implement health protocols (prokes). He emphasized vaccination is only one of many ways to avoid severe symptoms.

“Keep wearing mask properly and maintain distance. We do not know whether our companion is infected or not,” he mentioned.

He also sent a message to the community to avoid crowds for a long time. If unable to avoid crowds, dr Ato suggested the community gather in open spaces.

“We are currently in the slope of the wave. However, the pandemic is not over. We are now living alongside covid; preventing is more important than regret we have later,” he concluded. (*)

Author: Alysa Intan Santika

Editor: Feri Fenoria

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