Later, Mr. Tedros and I will meet in person.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia is holding discussions with a number of countries that are also planning to declare COVID-19 as an endemic disease in 2023, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said here on Tuesday.

The countries are India, Japan, and the United States, he informed after attending the commemoration of the World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), East Jakarta.

In addition to the countries, the Indonesian government will hold discussions with the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the development of the domestic and global COVID-19 situation, Sadikin added.

"We will see later about (the declaration of) the endemic (status of COVID-19). We are still in talks with the WHO. We have talked to the WHO (about the declaration) once," he said.

He made the statement in response to a reporter’s question on whether the endemic status of COVID-19 would be announced in August 2023.

The minister said that he plans to have an intensive discussion with the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus regarding the issue.

"Later, Mr. Tedros and I will meet in person,” he added.

He said that his ministry has held talks with and received some advice from the staff of the WHO director-general.

Earlier, the plan to lift the pandemic status of COVID-19 in Indonesia was conveyed by the president director of state-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma Honesti Basyir.

He made the statement at a joint working meeting of the Health Ministry and Commission IX of the House of Representatives (DPR) on February 14, 2023.

"It was reported that the government will announce the end of the pandemic (status of COVID-19) in August 2023,” he said.

However, the government will continue providing free vaccination until December 2023 to fund assistance recipients (PBIs) of the National Health Insurance (JKN) Program, Basyir informed

Meanwhile, free vaccinations will only be available for non-PBI of the JKN Program until August 2023, he added.

Health Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Syahril said that, as of February 19, the COVID-19 situation in Indonesia is under control, with the positivity rate recorded at 1.2 percent -- far below the WHO’s threshold of 5 percent.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Uyu Liman
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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