The year 2020 has just begun and it has already shocked the world with an outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus, known as the Novel coronavirus. The virus which allegedly originated in Wuhan, China has already claimed the lives of about 80 people, as reported by the BBC.
The Novel coronavirus was first identified on December 31 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. With an estimated population of 11 million, Wuhan is decked with connections to every part of the globe. This raises concerns about the spread of this virus to other cities in China, as well as outside the country.
With characteristics similar to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the same risk of death, the virus is reported to have already spread to various countries. As of Sunday (26/01), there were 13 countries that confirmed the existence of coronavirus cases, including Indonesia’s neighbours, Singapore and Malaysia.
How about in Indonesia? What actions are being taken by the government to prevent the entry of this deadly disease?
Until Sunday night there has been no official confirmation from the government regarding cases of Indonesian citizens, overseas, especially China, or at home, who were positively exposed to the coronavirus. Several regions in Indonesia reported suspected coronavirus cases, such as in Jambi and Jakarta. Most patients are suspected to have a history of travel to and from China. But so far no one has been confirmed positive contracting the coronavirus. Various attempts have been made by the Indonesian government to prevent the entry of this new type of coronavirus. Among others by installing Thermal Scanners in several airports in Indonesia. In addition, as many as 100 hospitals have been prepared by the Indonesian Ministry of Health as a reference for infectious diseases with emerging symptoms. Patients suspected of being infected with this virus can be immediately examined and isolated at the referral hospitals.
The government's action to prevent the entry of the deadly coronavirus into Indonesia should be appreciated. However, besides prevention efforts at home, another thing to consider is the fate of Indonesian citizens in China. Like Indonesian students who are continuing their education at several universities in Wuhan, the city that was the source of the coronavirus. They are trapped in Wuhan and are unable to get out because the city has now been isolated. For this reason, the Indonesian government must take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of its citizens wherever they are.
Last but not least, the public also need to get enough information about what the coronavirus is, the symptoms, and how to prevent it.
Hopefully, the efforts made by the government and the community can prevent Indonesia from becoming a country that is confirmed to have patients infected with this deadly coronavirus.