The Coronavirus outbreak in early 2020 become a global health issue that should be a public concern as well. The Coronavirus, officially named as COVID-2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO), was discovered for the first time in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The widespread of Coronavirus is becoming more extensive after this incident. Several countries, such as Singapore, Thailand, and more, have reported the coronavirus outbreak.
Aiming to increase the public understanding and rectify the circulating information amongst them related to the alleged coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia, Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia (FPH UI) held a public seminar titled “2019-nCoV-Public Health Emergency of International Concern: Increased Alertness”. Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia held the seminar on Tuesday (11/02/2020) in one of its halls, Building-A Hall. The seminar invited several speakers from various field of study, including Endang Burni Prasetyowati, DVM, M.Kes., Head of Sub Directorate of Surveillance, Directorate General of Disease Control and Environmental Health; Dr. N. Paranietharan as a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Indonesia; Prof. dr. Ascobat Gani, MPH, Dr. PH and Prof. Wiku Bakti Bawono Adisasmito, DVM, M.Sc., Ph.D., representing the professors from Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia; and dr. R. Fera Ibrahim, M.Sc., Ph.D., SpMK(K) as a representative from Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia.
A representative from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, Doctor Endang, said that Indonesia should be ready and prepared to face the coronavirus outbreak. Early detection and preparedness from various health resources should be the starting point of it. Preparedness from healthcare facilities, health laboratories, and referral hospitals become a major factor in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. “Although there is no certainty about this case in Indonesia, the public should be prepared to face all possibilities,” said Doctor Endang. As an addition, she mentioned that the Community Healthy Life Movement (Gerakan Masyarakat Hidup Sehat/GERMAS) could be one of its prevention efforts.
Doctor Paranietharan, in his presentation, conveyed about the global situation of the Coronavirus distribution. As of January 30, 2020, the spread of coronavirus has become a global agenda along with the declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). “WHO has implemented International Health Regulations (2005) in response to the current situation. Indonesia, as a member of WHO, does not need to worry about facing the spread of the coronavirus,” said Doctor Paranietharan. Furthermore, Doctor Paranietharan said that every country in the world should have a willingness to work together by reporting and responding once the coronavirus cases found. WHO has recommended ways to prevent the risk of coronavirus infection which include wearing a mask with the right ingredients and methods, frequently washing hands with soap, consuming cooked animal products, learning the good coughing and sneezing etiquette, also avoiding direct contact with anyone who is showing some symptoms such as severe cough and fever.
During his presentation, Prof. Ascobat emphasized epidemic prevention in an integrated manner. The central, regional, and local government could implement some efforts, such as epidemiological surveillance, isolation and quarantine, prevention and deterrence, and many more comprehensive efforts, as a way to resolve the issue. “Prevention efforts can be made through early treatment, strengthening the body’s immune system through immunization, implementing healthy and clean lifestyle, also eliminating the source of disease and breaking the chain of transmission,” he explained.
Similar to Prof. Ascobat, Prof. Wiku mentioned that strengthening early detection of the virus is one of the ways to resolve the challenge of Coronavirus outbreak. In this case, one can utilize the life science laboratory for early detection and referral system. “Strengthening collaboration and laboratory capacity, by establishing the One Health Laboratory Network (OHLN) program, can be used to detect new viruses, diseases, zoonoses,” said Prof. Wiku. Through this laboratory, it is possible to establish a research system and an integrated diagnosis focusing on humans and animals.
The seminar ended after a final discussion session with all of the speakers. Moderated by a Professor of Faculty of Public Health Universitas Indonesia (FPH UI), Prof. dr. Meiwita Budiharsana, MPA, Ph.D. and Teaching Staff from the Department of Epidemiology FPH UI, Dr. Mondastri Korib Sudaryo, MS, DSc., around 300 audiences from various academic fields and the general public attended the seminar. After this seminar, people are expected to get to know more about the valid information of Coronavirus outbreak; and to be able to make a prevention effort through practicing clean and healthy behavior.