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Indonesia Minister claims Indonesian climate can beat coronavirus, but WHO says it’s a myth

Galih Gumelar The Jakarta Post  Fri, April 3, 2020

A senior minister in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s Cabinet is adamant that SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes the deadly coronavirus disease, will soon get “weaker” in the country as Indonesia enters the dry season in April.

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Panjaitan said Indonesia’s relatively high temperature during the dry season as well as its humidity meant that the virus would be unable to survive, adding that the finding was a conclusion from an undisclosed research study.

“The virus will be weaker in high-temperature locations, and that could be Indonesia’s advantage compared to other countries,” Luhut said during a video conference on Thursday.

However, he said the advantage would be futile if the public kept on resisting the government’s call for physical distancing, which is necessary to slow the transmission of the contagious disease.

“If you have the virus but it is undetected, and you insist on performing mudik [exodus], you can kill others, including your family,” Luhut went on to say, “Thus, we urge our Muslim citizens to refrain from returning to their hometowns for Idul Fitri.”

The minister’s claim, however, has previously been debunked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The UN health body said exposing people to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25 degrees Celsius would not halt the spread of COVID-19, given that the disease has also emerged in countries with a hot climate.

“You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is,” the WHO said on its COVID-19 myth busters page.

“To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.”

From: THE JAKARTA POST, INDONESIA Fri, April 3, 2020

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