Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has lauded rural governments for their role in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and the national vaccination drive.

The rural governments' contribution successfully helped reduce COVID-19 cases, which reached a record at 64 thousand cases a day in mid-February, the President noted while speaking at the 2022 National Gathering of the Association of Local Governments Across Indonesia (APDESI) at Istora Senayan, here on Tuesday.

"Alhamdulillah, (the daily COVID-19 cases dropped) from 64,700 to 2,700 (as of Monday afternoon). This is also thanks to the hard work of all of you in informing the public, encouraging people to vaccinate, wear masks, keep distance, wash hands," he said while speaking to local government heads attending the meeting.

The contribution of rural governments to COVID-19 handling efforts in Indonesia has been unique, according to the President.

"It doesn't exist in other countries. They have concentrated on the solution in hospitals. We haven't. (We conducted) gotong royong (mutual help or working together) up to the lowest level," he said.

The authorities have administered a total of 374 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines thanks to the gotong royong mechanism.

"It's also thanks to all of you for inviting the public to be vaccinated; 374 million is not a small number. Injecting 374 million times is not easy, but we could do it because of, once again, our gotong royong," Jokowi said.

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The President urged local government heads to continue to play an active role in encouraging people to get the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, only 20 million people, or 9.6 percent of the targeted recipients, have received the booster dose, he said.

Among the ministers present at the meeting were Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan; Minister of Home Affairs, Muhammad Tito Karnavian; Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Abdul Halim Iskandar; and Minister of State Secretary, Pratikno.

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Translator: Gilang G, Fardah
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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