Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry will rope in international institutions EpiC and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to guide Indonesia in entering the endemic era of COVID-19.

"Our friends from Epic and USAID will invite us on how to prepare ourselves for the endemic era, and hopefully, we can enter this endemic in a good way. So that our proposal to lift the pandemic can be realized," the ministry's spokesperson, Mohammad Syahril, said during the "Workshop on Transition from Pandemic to Endemic" in Jakarta on Friday.

EpiC Indonesia is a part of the EpiC international organization, which is active in meeting targets and maintaining epidemic control, while USAID is an independent United States agency responsible for providing assistance in the economic, development, and humanitarian fields.

The Indonesian people are grateful for the government's policy revoking restrictions on public mobility (PPKM) on December 30, 2022, after three years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.

"That decision was taken based on a recommendation from all related parties," he said.

However, the revocation of PPKM needs to be accompanied by the fulfillment of certain requirements, such as confirmation rates of below 20 per 100 thousand population, deaths below 1 per 100 thousand population, and hospital bed occupancy below 5 percent, Syahril said.

He also informed that 99 percent of the population in Indonesia has developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, based on a serology survey (serosurvey) carried out in January 2023.

"After the PPKM was revoked, the parameters of the cases remained under control, despite the turmoil in the surge in cases abroad," he noted.

However, he still asked the public not to be careless, even though the government has successfully handled COVID-19 cases. In addition, the transition to endemic still requires efforts and mitigation from various elements.

“(An emergency situation) and a new variant may reappear, which will cause a spike in cases," he cautioned.

Apart from that, Indonesia is also faced with the impact of the long-term COVID-19 effect, which has been experienced by 30 percent of survivors.

Triftianti from EpiC Indonesia's COVID-19 technical office said at the same workshop that EpiC is a USAID-funded project to accelerate broad and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination services, as well as reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 through mitigating tracing and strengthening the health system.

"EpiC Indonesia is working in Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, North Sumatra, and Papua," she said.

It has provided technical assistance in the form of a grant of 1 thousand Vyaire LTV 1200/2200 mechanical ventilators to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

From June 2020 to November 2021, around 905 ventilators have been distributed, and 1,572 health workers at 485 health facilities in 211 districts/cities have received the ventilators, she added.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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