THE Ministry of Tourism & Creative Economy hopes that the breath-based COVID-19 detection tool made by the Gadjah Mada University (UGM) GeNose C19 research team will become a game changer that will accelerate efforts to restore the tourism sector and the creative economy (Parekraf).

According to the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, at the Soesilo Soedarman Hall, Sapta Pesona Building, Jakarta, said that in an effort to improve the tourism sector and the creative economy it is necessary to implement strict 3M health protocols (wearing masks, maintaining distance and washing hands). In addition, it is followed by the 3T method, namely testing, tracing, and treatment.

“Areas or sectors that have succeeded in suppressing the transmission of COVID-19 are areas that implement 3M and are followed by strict 3T. And because GeNose is a screening (testing), we will certainly encourage tourist destinations and various tourist facilities to adopt GeNose. an innovation of the nation’s children that will become a game changer in efforts to restore the parecraph sector,” Sandiaga Uno said.

The presence of GeNose C19 which has received a distribution permit from the Ministry of Health can provide a sense of security and comfort for tourists when carrying out tourist activities to destinations. GeNose is a COVID-19 detector that is very comfortable to use because it is only through the breath.

The exhaled sample is then collected in a bag and connected to a detector. It takes only about 30 seconds to find out the results with a sensitivity level of 92 percent and a specificity level of about 95 percent. Currently GeNose has been used by the Ministry of Transportation at several train stations.

“I will convey to the business world, friends who manage tourist destinations to order immediately. We hope this can revive the tourism sector and the creative economy which is now depressed due to the pandemic. With testing followed by strict tracking and also disciplined treatment, we could revive the tourism sector and revitalize our economy,” he noted.

He added that Bali Province would later try to be prioritized because it was an area where the tourism sector and the creative economy were severely affected by the pandemic.

“Bali yesterday’s economic growth was minus 9%. This has never happened before. This is the deepest contraction for the Province of Bali. Then the second is the Riau Islands and also Jakarta. I will encourage tourist destinations in Jakarta to be able to use this product,” Sandiaga stated.

But for the initial stage, Sandiaga continued, GeNose C19 will be placed in the Ministry of Tourism office and gradually at the National Tourism College (PTNP) under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and also the Tourism Authority Agency.

Meanwhile, Minister of Research and Technology/Head of the Research and Technology Agency, Bambang Brodjonegoro, on the same occasion said that the presence of GeNose C19 had gone through a long procedure. Research has been started since 10 years ago which was originally intended to detect respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis. But when a pandemic occurs, research is then diverted to detect COVID-19.

He also expressed his gratitude for the Ministry of Tourism entrusting GeNose C19 as part of efforts to revitalize the tourism sector and the creative economy (Parekraf).

“The data from GeNose will be directly integrated in the central data so that it will enrich the database from using GeNose. This data will be used to continuously improve the quality of the tools, even though the validation tests have been carried out in about 10 hospitals in Java Island with around 2,000 samples. It has been seen that both the sensitivity and specificity are high, already above 90%,” Bambang Brodjonegoro affirmed.

Nevertheless, he reminded that the implementation of health protocols was still well implemented.

“I believe that the economic sector with the greatest multiplier effect is tourism, because there are so many sectors that then benefit from tourism activities, both domestic and foreign tourists,” Bambang concluded. []