Indonesia Believes Transition to Endemic Will Happen in September

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Several countries in the world have started to move from a pandemic to a Covid-19 endemic, such as neighboring country, Singapore. Then when will Indonesia follow these countries?

To get endemic, Indonesia still needs to pursue the national vaccination achievement target first.

Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF) Febrio Kacaribu in the discussion on Indonesia Macroeconomic Updates 2022, Monday (4/4), said, “There is already a belief from many countries to start entering an endemic. For example in Europe, many countries do not require the use of masks. In our neighboring countries, for example, Singapore no longer requires masks for outdoors.”

He said several European countries had begun to prepare for an endemic even though Covid-19 had infected almost a third of the population. In France, for example, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases had reached 38% of the population as of the end of last month. Similar conditions also occurred in Germany which reached 25.3%, Italy, 24.2%, and England 31.2%.

Even though the Covid-19 virus still exists, according to him, the authorities of these countries still provide relaxation, including regarding the use of masks because they see the Omicron variant which is currently spreading widely has a relatively mild impact compared to the previous variants.

Febrio sees that the management of the pandemic in the country is relatively good, although it is not yet known for sure when the transition to endemic will start. Indonesia’s cumulative cases until the end of last month were 6.01 million or 2.2% of the population. This places Indonesia at number 156 out of 225 countries in terms of the ratio of positive cases to the total population.

In addition, Indonesia’s cumulative mortality is at 0.06% of the population, far below other countries such as Peru which reached 0.64%, America at 0.3%, Brazil at 0.31%, and Italy at 0.26%.

Although domestic conditions are relatively good, he stressed that the government is currently still focusing on efforts to accelerate vaccination and pursue the target of 70% of the population having been fully vaccinated with two doses.

As of April 1, 2022, the number of the first dose of vaccination has reached 196 million people, or 72.8% of the population. Meanwhile, 59.1% of the population received two doses of vaccination and 8.5% of the population had received a booster dose.

“This vaccination is certainly one of our strong fortresses to get ready to enter the endemic period,” said Febrio.

During the implementation of restrictions on community activities, Febrio sees that community mobility is getting looser. This will also have implications for economic recovery.

In the first quarter of this year, people’s mobility was even higher than during normal conditions in February 2020. People’s mobility did weaken, especially in February due to the increase in cases due to Omicron, however, along with the decline in cases since late February, mobility has rebounded throughout the last month.

On the other hand, Minister of Health (Menkes) Budi Gunadi Sadikin when facing the DPR last month expressed his belief that the status of the Covid-19 pandemic has the opportunity to turn endemic in September.

However, according to him, the government needs to ensure the reproduction or transmission rate of the virus is below one, which means that at least one person can spread the virus to another person. If Indonesia can reach a transmission rate of the virus below one by the end of March, according to him, this condition will last for the next six months. At that time, according to Budi, the pandemic status could turn into endemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that there are three indicators to determine the reproduction rate of the virus below one, namely, 20 positive confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population, the number of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital at five per 100,000 population, and the ratio of cases of death reaches one per 100 thousand population.