Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has urged Indonesians to carry out double protection — getting vaccinated and following the health protocols — in response to the latest increase in COVID-19 infections in Singapore.

"We still have vaccinations in Indonesia. Our condition should be better," he said in Jakarta on Monday.

He advised people who have not obtained the COVID-19 booster dose to immediately get vaccinated at the nearest health facility.

According to the minister, the vaccination program will be free until the end of December 2023.

"It will be free until the end of this year. People can take advantage of it," he said.

Besides vaccination, the public also needs to implement health protocols, such as washing hands with soap and running water and wearing masks, especially in public places, Sadikin added.

He assured that the increasing COVID-19 case trend in Singapore has not triggered a surge in the number of hospitalized patients in Indonesia.

"We are not seeing additional hospitalized cases. There is indeed an increase, but overall the immunity is quite good with vaccination," he said in response to a question regarding the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

According to a report in The Straits Times, the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore doubled to 22,094 in the November 19–25, 2023, period from 10,726 cases the previous week.

On average, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Singapore and admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) is still relatively stable.

Local health authorities said the latest increase in COVID-19 infections has been likely caused by factors such as the year-end travel season and reduced population immunity.

Meanwhile, regarding an increase in pneumonia cases in China, Sadikin said the disease was not caused by a new virus, such as COVID-19.

The ministry informed that the recent surge in pneumonia cases in China has been caused by old viruses or bacteria.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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