Jakarta. Indonesia received on Monday about 684,400 doses of Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine from New Zealand.
The shipment came through the global sharing mechanism Covax facility, while also bringing the total vaccines that have arrived in Indonesia — be it in finished or bulk forms — to around 292 million doses.
“This marks New Zealand’s first time to have vaccine dose-sharing partnership with Indonesia,” Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said, as quoted from a press statement on Monday.
It was also part of New Zealand’s commitment to support the vaccine drive in the Asia-Pacific region, with the majority of these partnerships done with Indonesia.
New Zealand is working with Indonesia’s research center Eijkman Institute on improving the quality of Covid-19 tests.
“Partnership is also carried out with the Unicef to boost the public health capacity, and a number of medical equipment in Indonesia,” she said.
New Zealand even came to Indonesia’s aid when the latter faced a surge in cases a few months ago, by shipping medical equipment such as ventilators and rapid test kits, as well as providing additional support for Eijkman Institute.
“On behalf of the Indonesian government and people, I would like to thank New Zealand for the collaboration and cooperation given amid the pandemic,” Retno said.
According to New Zealand’s ambassador to Indonesia Kevin Burnett, both countries have shared a long-lasting partnership. New Zealand also pledged to continue its support for Indonesia’s Covid-19 fight.
“We are working closely with the Indonesian Health Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry,” Kevin said.
Remember the Health Protocols
The Covid-19 pandemic is clearly not over yet. On October 17-23, the world saw a 2 percent increase in Covid-19 cases, and a 0.9 percent rise in deaths compared to the previous week, Retno reported.
Covid cases in Southeast Asia are down by 15.5 percent in comparison to the previous week, but only nine Asean countries, including Indonesia, are facing a decline. Singapore is seeing a 15 percent increase in new cases, compared to the previous week.
Indonesia is among the countries on a downward trend, with a 23 percent drop in new cases from the previous week.
In the past few days, the national positivity rate has fallen below 1 percent, and the daily tally has also been less than 1,000 cases. The vaccination rate is on the rise, with Indonesia having administered more than 182 million vaccine doses.
But there is no room for complacency when combating Covid-19.
Despite its high vaccination rate that even reaches up to 111.55 percent, Europe is facing a rise in cases. This illustrates how we must all keep our guards up and observe the health protocols, according to Retno.
The government will also continue to keep an eye on the pandemic situation in other parts of the globe, including the emergence of new coronavirus variants.
Retno ensured the government would continue to spare no effort in the fight against Covid-19. But the public also plays a pivotal role, particularly in the vaccination drive. They can also play a part by observing the health protocols.
“Let us all join forces to campaign for vaccination and health protocols. They are two sides of a coin that are inseparable. Let’s get vaccinated and continue to comply with the health protocols,” the minister said.