Indonesia believes it can withstand the next Covid-19 waves, driven by BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub variants, because its population has high levels of antibodies from past infections and vaccinations.

The country will treat corona virus as endemic later this year, Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin told The Straits Times on June 14.

The July surge will be milder than Delta and Omicron, he said.

South African BA.4 and BA.5 variants peaked lower than the original Omicron wave.

Due to previous infections and vaccinations, majority of the Indonesia’s inhabitants has Covid-19 plasma cells, according to a March study.  

Indonesia’s Covid-19 positivity rate is below 5%. Restrictions were lifted.

“Hopefully by July, (we’ll reach) the peak of the BA.4 and BA.5 variant, and because our antibody level seems high, people believe consequence and hospital stay rates will be reduced,” Mr. Budi said.

As the next wave wanes in August or September, Mr. Budi hopes “that will be a good sign to transition from pandemic to endemic.”Indonesia isn’t lazy.

Mr Budi said the country will accelerate its booster jabs and continue to urge its people to wear face masks, believe good hygiene, carrying normal self-tests, and separating themselves if they are Covid-19 positive.

The minister later highlighted Indonesia’s healthcare reforms at the Indonesia-Singapore Business Forum.

Preventing illness is more important than curing it, he said.

Also, Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Health Minister, outlined Singapore’s pandemic strategy, including using health apps.

He called the ageing population a “silver tsunami.” 1 in 4 by 2030.

Since Covid-19, Singapore’s GP sector has been part of public health, says Ong. 

Yet Kum Meng, CEO of OUE Lippo Healthcare, discussed industry challenges. Public-private and private-private data sharing require privacy and security.

Levana Sani, co-founder of Nalagenetics, said pharmacogenomic information should be in the lab and EHRs.

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