Government claim Covid-19 surge couldn't have been predicted challenged

Source – July 2, 2021
Coordinating Minister for Investment and Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan – Undated (Kompas)

Rakhmat Nur Hakim, Jakarta – Griffith University Epidemiologist Dicky Budiman has questioned a statement by Coordinating Minister for Investment and Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan who said that the government could not have predicted that there would be a surge in Covid-19 cases in June.

Budiman said that along with other epidemiologists he had repeatedly said in the media and on social media that Indonesia could potentially experience a surge in Covid-19 case in June or July.

"Yes, of course, this is what I conveyed. If it couldn't have been predicted I don't know. Who was supplying information to him [Panjaitan]?", Budiman said to

Budiman said that the predicted surge in Covid-19 case could already be seen from the mutations of the corona virus which were more virulent and infectious.

Moreover, even before the Delta variant entered Indonesia, Budiman said that the Alpha variant was already causing a surge in cases. Currently the situation is even worse with the Delta variant which spreads even faster.

Budiman had even been warning the government since January that the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia could become even worse even though there was a vaccine.

But the government did not respond to the emergence of the new corona virus variants (Alpha and Delta) by conducting mass testing to identify the new variants.

"Right from the start I said that 2021 could be far worse than 2020 even though there was a vaccine when the [government's] strategic response to the pandemic failed to address fundamental issues such as early detection, testing and tracing, isolation and quarantine", continued Budiman.

Earlier, Panjaitan said that the government could never have predicted that the number of Covid-19 cases could have risen again in such high numbers. He also claimed that there is still much that the government does not know about Covid-19.

"Honesty, we could never have predicted that in June this year that there would be another surge. Because only now do we know. So there is a great deal of ignorance about Covid-19. And as it turns out in June there was an extraordinary increase [in cases]", said Panjaitan during a virtual press conference on Thursday July 1.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Luhut Sebut Lonjakan Kasus Covid-19 Tak Terprediksi, Epidemiolog: Yang Kasih Informasi ke".]