Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo formally annulled the Covid-19 restrictions on Friday, nearly three years after they were imposed in the wake of the pandemic in 2020.
The president said the much-awaited decision was based on the steady decline in new cases in the past 10 months, despite some experts warning against any drastic measures during the holiday season and amid reports of the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant which caused a surge of cases in China.
"After reviewing and taking consideration into current developments, in which we carefully looked into numbers during the past 10 months, the government decided today to repeal the PPKM," Jokowi said at the State Palace in Jakarta, using the acronym for the Community-Level Restriction.
The government decision was mentioned in the home affairs minister's memo, which no longer restricts people's mobility or sets limitations to public gatherings.
"However, I ask all elements of the community across the country to remain cautious and vigilant," the president added.
On Wednesday, Chief Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that the Covid-19 pandemic is on course to become endemic, in which the disease remains frequent but is limited to certain areas.
"It's been over a year that [the number of new Covid cases] has reached a plateau. According to the WHO criteria, when the current situation lasts for 12 months, what happens now is endemic," Airlangga said.
Indonesia has recorded 6.7 million Covid cases and more than 160,500 deaths since the pandemic began.
The president claimed success in keeping the pandemic under control and the national economy afloat under the so-called 'brake and accelerator' policy.
Jokowi said the ratio of cases to the population is 1.7 to a million and the positivity rate is 3.35 percent per week.
Of all confirmed cases, the fatality rate stood at a mere 2.39 percent while only 4.79 percent required hospitalization. "All these numbers beat WHO standards," Jokowi said.
Despite the absence of restrictions, people should continue wearing a mask in public gatherings, especially in indoor settings, and get vaccinated against Covid-19, he added.