Indonesia is still in a COVID-19 health emergency even though the World Health Organization (WHO) has lifted the global status of the disease.
The Ministry of Health said in a press conference yesterday that Indonesia’s transition away from COVID-19 emergency status rests on President Joko Widodo.
“For us to lift [the emergency status], there will have to be an announcement by the president,” ministry spokesman Mohammad Syahril said, adding that the ministry and health experts will make the appropriate recommendations to the nation’s leader.
Syahril also called on the public to remain careful and implement health protocols, while vaccination drives would still continue, especially to protect high-risk segments of society.
Even as Indonesia still considers COVID-19 a health emergency, the country has been living without strict public restrictions this year, barring the occasional mask mandate in enclosed public spaces and mass transport.
The WHO announced on Friday that it was removing the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) status for COVID-19, citing declining cases and deaths from the disease for more than a year, as well as increased population immunity from vaccination and infection.
However, the WHO also stressed that COVID-19 remained a serious threat to global public health, and urged countries not to dismantle the public health systems they had built to contain the disease.
Indonesia has been recording a spike in infections over the past couple of weeks, registering around 2,000 cases daily. Still, the current daily average is a far cry from the peaks of 2022 and 2021.
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