Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said he will visit the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2023 for a meeting with the institution’s top officials. In Indonesian media he was quoted saying that he will urge WHO officials to revoke the pandemic status as the COVID-19 virus doesn’t pose a threat anymore in many countries, including Indonesia.
At the end of 2022 the Indonesian government already scrapped all of its social and business restrictions (known as Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat or PPKM) as hospitals have no difficulty handling patients. Ever since the Delta wave had passed in Q3-2021, the country’s overall bed occupancy ratio (or BOR) has been low (implying there are many unused beds in Indonesian hospitals). For example, the BOR in the Province of West Java (Indonesia’s most populous province) was only 3.3 percent on 26 January 2023 (with only 166 beds out a total of 5,033 beds being occupied in the total of 398 hospitals in the province).
We have been monitoring the BOR of hospitals in West Java over the past two years, and ever since the Delta wave eased in Q3-2021 the ratio has been near, or below, 5 percent. Hospitals being more-or-less empty for the past 18 months or so, indeed, leads to the question why social and business restrictions were kept in place. After all, there was no evidence that restrictions were behind the low BORs (if restrictions were behind low BORs, then we would not have seen heavy pressures on Indonesian hospitals in the 2020-2021 period when restrictions were tightest).
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