Jakarta (ANTARA) - The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is less threatening, according to dr. Ngabila Salama, a health transformation communication staff member at the Ministry of Health.

In an online talk show on Friday, she said that the COVID-19 endemic phase in Indonesia does not mean the virus has disappeared, but that it is continuing to spread like influenza.

Common COVID-19 symptoms like cough, cold, and fever can still be experienced, but they are not as severe as when the pandemic first emerged, she added.

"However, this does not mean that it (the virus) can be underestimated. The public needs to be aware of a surge in cases that occur every 4–6 months," she said.

She explained that an infection spike can occur because the Omicron sub-variant is transmitted more easily between humans and has the potential to mutate with each transmission.

"Mutation is highly possible, especially in vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, older adults, and patients with comorbidities," she said.

She appealed to people to remain alert against the COVID-19 virus even though Indonesia is no longer in a pandemic phase.

She also urged them to continue to implement the health protocols and get tested at a community health center if they come in contact with people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"Do not forget to complete the vaccination. Even though vaccination does not prevent diseases, vaccination prevents severe (symptoms) and death due to COVID-19," she stressed.

President Joko Widodoon June 21, 2023, officially declared the revocation of the COVID-19 pandemic status and said that Indonesia is transitioning to the COVID-19 endemic phase.

The end of the pandemic phase was regulated by Presidential Decree Number 17 of 2023 on the Declaration of the End of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic Status in Indonesia.

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Translator: Sean Muhamad, Raka Adji
Editor: Anton Santoso
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