Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's government is in the final stage of an agreement to procure the COVID-19 antiviral drug Molnupiravir in the country at the end of 2021 through a negotiation conducted directly with the US-based manufacturer.

"We have reached the finalization stage of the agreement, so that Indonesia can procure Molnupiravir tablets by the end of this year," Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin noted in the press statement regarding evaluation on public activity restrictions (PPKM), aired on the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel, monitored from here, Monday.

Sadikin noted that the agreement process was conducted by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan along with the Indonesian Ministry of Health during a recent visit to the Mercks company in the United States.

At the meeting, the government also explored cooperation with Mercks, as the producer of Molnupiravir tablets, to build a drug factory in Indonesia, including raw materials of the drugs.

Sadikin noted that the presence of Mercks in Indonesia is expected to help the country secure sufficient supplies of COVID-19 drugs, especially if another wave of COVID-19 strikes.

"Thus, we would have sufficient supply (of COVID-19 drugs) in the event of another (COVID-19) wave," he stated.

Sadikin affirmed that his ministry had monitored several new COVID-19 variants, including a descendant of the Delta variant, AY.4.2, which is currently hitting the UK.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indonesia in March 2020. According to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), as of October 25, 2021, at least 4,240,479 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in the country, while 4,083,690 individuals had recovered, and 143,235 people had succumbed to the deadly virus.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji
Editor: Sri Haryati
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