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Epidemiologist upbeat about Indonesia reaching endemic stage by 2022

Antara News - December 29, 2021

Zubi Mahrofi, Nabil Ihsan, Jakarta – An epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, Pandu Riono, expressed optimism that Indonesia would enter the COVID-19 endemic stage by 2022, as the pandemic situation in the country continues to improve.

"I am optimistic that 2022 will be the year that Indonesia enters the COVID-19 endemic stage," Riono stated during the "2020: Towards Endemic Stage" talk show observed in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The epidemiologist is confident that the endemic stage would be achieved despite the emergence of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and its recent detection in Indonesia.

"We need not be afraid of the Omicron variant, as it does not cause severe illness or death," he emphasized.

Riono is also confident that during the endemic stage, the national healthcare system would not be overwhelmed by the COVID-19 disease.

To enhance Indonesia's readiness to enter the COVID-19 endemic stage, Riono urged that national vaccination should continue to be encouraged.

"We can create a more sustainable COVID-19 endemic stage by encouraging vaccination. If we successfully achieve 100-percent national vaccination coverage, we will have complete immunity against the virus," the epidemiologist remarked.

According to the COVID-19 Task Force data of Monday (Dec 27, 2021), some 110 million residents, or equal to 53.20 percent of the total vaccination target, had completed their second vaccine dose, Riono noted.

Moreover, some 156 million residents, or equivalent to 75.38 percent of the total target, had been administered their first vaccine dose, he remarked.

Meanwhile, Health Minister's expert staff for COVID-19 handling Andani Eka Putra stated that the drop in COVID-19 case numbers was one factor that should be monitored in Indonesia's readiness to advance to the endemic stage.

Despite Indonesia's COVID-19 positivity rate being only at 0.25 percent, thereby indicating that the COVID-19 situation in Indonesia is under control, the expert staff warned that the Omicron variant might cause another infection surge.

As of today, some 46 COVID-19 positive cases recorded in Indonesia are confirmed to be of the Omicron variant, he added.

"We must properly control the spread of the Omicron variant to avoid another case spike and increase our potential to enter the endemic stage sooner," Putra affirmed.

Source: https://en.antaranews.com/news/206737/epidemiologist-upbeat-about-indonesia-reaching-endemic-stage-by-202