Omicron spike in India reminder to remain cautious: minister

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Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Indonesian government is exercising caution following the infection surge in India due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said.

The surge in cases in India needs to be watched out for because the pattern of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia is similar to India’s. The only difference is that during every increase, such as during the Delta surge, India experienced a spike in cases first, she noted.

“When the Delta variant spread, COVID-19 cases in India began to spike in February and ended in July 2021, so it took a long time. And the daily peak of cases was very high, (capped) at250 thousand cases per one million population,” she said during a meeting here on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Indonesia began to register an increase in Delta cases at the end of June and the surge lasted until September 2021, she said. At that time, Indonesia’s daily COVID-19 cases reached 150 to 200 per one million population, she pointed out.

“Now, we see India(‘s cases) starting to hike up again because of Omicron, (while) Indonesia is relatively flat (in terms of the trend of infection). We hope we will continue to maintain this (state), and (for) this (thing), Mr. President is paying extra attention to its development,” Indrawati informed.

Compared to during the Delta surge, restrictions on community activities in several countries have seemed more relaxed amid the spread of the Omicron variant, Indrawati noted.

The minister said that the phenomenon was owing to vaccinations and the fact that Omicron’s symptoms are not as severe as those of the Delta variant.

“So that if the community maintains discipline in (following the) health protocols and wants to get vaccinations, especially boosters, it is believed that they will be able to conduct economic activities and activities, as per usual,” she said.

Thus, it is expected that the economy will continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indrawati added.

Moreover, unlike the 1998 crisis, which took longer to recover from, recovery from the economic crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19 has been much quicker, she observed.

“It seems that our economy was down and then recovered, then Delta hit, and then it recovered. So in this case, resilience and recovery ability are much better than the 1997-1998 crisis. Of course, this is because our policy instruments are more complete,” she added.

Indrawati further said that she would refer to the ministry document on the management of the state budget every time they face a crisis. “So that if there is another crisis, we can see what we have done before,” she added.

Related news: Indonesia’s daily COVID-19 cases rise by 1,362: minister
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