Yogyakarta (ANTARA) - An epidemiologist from Gadjah Mada University has expressed support for President Joko Widodo's plan to lift public activity restrictions (PPKM) at the end of 2022, saying there is no urgent need to continue implementing the restrictions.

"It is okay to lift (PPKM) because actually there is no urgency anymore," epidemiologist Bayu Satria Wiratama said when contacted on Wednesday.

According to him, the PPKM policy was implemented because, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was no ideal intervention to curb virus transmission. At the time, the PPKM policy was taken because COVID-19 cases in Indonesia were high and were accompanied by a continuous increase in the death toll and a lack of vaccines.

Currently, the level of immunity of Indonesian people is relatively high, in line with the coverage of vaccinations that continues to be expanded, Wiratama noted.

Even though COVID-19 cases are still being detected in the country, most of the patients are experiencing mild symptoms, he said.

Nevertheless, he asked the government to continue to increase the coverage of booster vaccinations, especially among the high-risk group.

In addition, tracing, testing, and treatment efforts must continue to be made as virus transmission still occurs in the community, he said.

There is no need to stop the health protocols and healthy behaviors that have been developed in the community, he added.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said on Wednesday that the Indonesian government may lift public activity restrictions (PPKM) at the end of 2022.

"Yesterday, our daily (COVID-19) cases were at 1,200, and probably, at the end of the year, we will declare our PSBB (large-scale social restrictions), PPKM are lifted," the President stated at the Indonesia Economic Outlook 2023 in Jakarta.

Based on the latest data, the downward trend in daily COVID-19 cases has continued, Widodo noted. He cited data showing that, as of Tuesday, Indonesia's daily COVID-19 case count stood at 1,200. The figure showed a drastic decline compared to the peak of the Omicron spread, when the number of daily cases reached 64 thousand.

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Translator: Luqman Hakim, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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