30 March 2020 (closed)
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Although Indonesia still has a relatively low number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases (COVID-19), namely 790 per Wednesday 25 March 2020, it is assumed that this number will rise rapidly in the weeks, perhaps months, to come. Some expats have decided to leave Indonesia and head back to their home country, while others have remained in Indonesia. Those expats who remain here, what can they do to limit risks of becoming infected with COVID-19?
Indeed, Indonesia has imposed various measures in an effort to curb the further spread of COVID-19. The capital city of Jakarta now seems deserted. The number of cars and motorcycles on the roads of Jakarta is currently smaller than during the peak of the Idul Fitri exodus after the Ramadan month (when millions of city dwellers return to their place of origin for a few days). This is partly related to the fact that hundreds of thousands of office workers now work from home instead of going to the office. Meanwhile, schools and universities are temporarily closed, while most large-scale events have been cancelled. Many people seem to stay at home (and only leave home for groceries).
However, there are plenty of reasons to remain worried about Indonesians' awareness of the dangers of this new virus. In local media it was reported that in some regions there were still big (religious) gatherings.
Indonesia, and especially big cities such as Jakarta or Surabaya, have a big number of expats who work (and/or live) here. What can the expats do in order to reduce chances of being infected? Here are some tips:
• Work from home/stay at home; if possible, try to avoid contact with people, and avoid going to places where a lot of people come (and where they can leave the virus on certain items such as a doorknob or chair). While at home try to follow the news and latest developments.
• Be picky when it comes to food; It is better to buy canned food (and cook it at home) than to order meals from your favorite restaurant (warung). If you buy food that is prepared by the local chefs (or street-vendors), you don't know whether the food was prepared in hygienic conditions. There are currently also many small restaurants where you can choose items from a big buffet (a bit similar to traditional Padang food). However, since all customers can touch the food (or sneeze on it) it is better to avoid these food items for now.
• Wash your hands often; you may stay at home most of the time but once in a while you will need to leave your apartment or house to buy groceries. Once you have arrived back home, you need to wash your hands immediately and thoroughly. Remember that before your hands are clean, you should not touch your face, especially not your eyes, nose and mouth because those are the key entrance points for the virus. Those expats who live in an apartment need to be alert and aware that the general entrance door and lift buttons are particularly risky as these doors and lift buttons are used by hundreds of locals (those who live in the building, staff, but also Gojek or Grab drivers who come to bring food that is ordered by a resident).
• Be selective when it comes to allowing guests in your property; anyone can carry the coronavirus (even if they don't show symptoms) so it is better to avoid people (as mentioned in the first point). If you have a cleaning lady or household assistant (pembantu) or nanny (for your young children) who live with you in your household, then they should follow the same rules as you do. However, in case your household assistant/nanny does not live in your household (for example, she comes in the morning and leaves in the evening), then it is better to give them some time off because they can unwillingly and unknowingly bring the virus into your household through their contacts outside your household.
• Strengthen your immune system; people who are healthy (which are usually young people) may not even notice that they are infected with COVID-19. The trick is that their immune system is strong. Therefore, it is better to take some efforts to strengthen your immune system by eating healthy (fruits and vegetables) and take some supplements such as vitamin pills. Taking enough time to sleep is also crucial to improve your immune system. Lastly, it is highly recommended to quit smoking (and not consume too much alcohol).
In case you suspect that you are infected with the COVID-19 virus, please contact the COVID-19 Response Team here
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Organisasi Kesehatan Dunia (WHO) menyarankan agar masyarakat mengambil tindak pencegahan virus corona sederhana untuk mengurangi paparan dan penularan virus. Tindakan kewaspadaan dan pencegahan yang dapat dilakukan masyarakat untuk menghindari penularan pneumonia akibat virus corona antara lain. https://fk.unair.ac.id/6-langkah-sederhana-cegah-penularan-virus-corona/