I hope to see him soon. I expect it to be this month.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has planned to meet Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Ghebreyesus later this month to discuss about the transition of the COVID-19 status from pandemic to endemic.

“I hope to see him soon. I expect it to be this month," he responded to the media when asked about when the discussion with the WHO director-general would be held.

The minister made the statement after attending the "COVID-19 Handling Award” event here on Monday. The award was bestowed on entities, both government and private, domestic or foreign, who are considered to have contributed to bringing the pandemic under control.

On the same occasion, a Health Ministry’s Serology Survey Team member, Iwan Ariawan, stated that according to the epidemiological assessment, it had been possible to revoke Presidential Decree Number 11 of 2020 regarding the Stipulation of a Public Health Emergency for COVID-19.

"The regulation in Indonesia has never declared (COVID-19 as) a pandemic but as a public health emergency. It (the regulation) is still in effect now, although the PPKM (public activity restrictions) had been stopped," he stated.

Nonetheless, the government has to consider the impacts of the revocation of the regulation on other aspects, such as the economy and COVID-19 handling governance, although the epidemiologists have assessed that the decree was able to be repealed, he explained.

“When it (COVID-19) is declared as a public health emergency, the central government is responsible for the handling and funding (for COVID-19 mitigation). However, when it (the decree) is repealed, it (the handling and funding) becomes the responsibility of the district/city governments,” Ariawan noted.

He remarked that the COVID-19 status, either as a pandemic or an endemic, becomes the government’s decision, so it is important for each country to discuss the matter with the WHO before taking the call.

Earlier, the Government of Indonesia had consulted with several countries -- the United States, Japan, and India -- that are also planning to declare COVID-19 as an endemic disease in 2023:.

Meanwhile, Director-General of the WHO Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed hope that the COVID-19 pandemic would end this year, according to a statement published on the organization’s site on March 17, 2023.

The weekly number of reported deaths in the past four weeks has been lower than when the word ‘pandemic’ was firstly used three years ago. He is confident that this year, COVID-19 could be over as a public health emergency of international concern, he remarked. Related news: President Jokowi hands out COVID-19 handling awards
Related news: Utilize strength to handle COVID-19 for other big agendas: Jokowi

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Uyu Liman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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