Indonesia strengthens vaccine cooperation with UK and Switzerland as cases go above 357,000

  • Indonesia
  • Saturday, 17 Oct 2020

Indonesian representatives met recently with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is testing a Covid-19 candidate vaccine. - Reuters

JAKARTA, Oct 17 (The Jakarta Post/ANN): Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir visited the United Kingdom and Switzerland earlier this week to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on Covid-19 handling and vaccine procurement.

“Our trip to the UK and Switzerland adds to our efforts to secure vaccine cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally,” Retno said during a virtual conference from Geneva, Switzerland.

Indonesia met directly with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which is testing a Covid-19 candidate vaccine.

In Switzerland, the Indonesian delegation met with GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to discuss equality between countries in the procurement of a hoped-for Covid-19 vaccine.

During the visit to Switzerland, Indonesia said it would help ensure equal access to vaccines globally.

Retno said Indonesia was able to participate in the provision of a potential future vaccine because state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma had a large production capacity.

"A collaboration like this shows Indonesia's commitment and leadership to support multilateralism and access to vaccines for all," Retno said.

"We will continue our coordination and communication with (the WHO, UNICEF, GAVI and the CEPI). Once again, cooperation is key," she added.

Erick echoed Retno’s statement, saying the visit aimed to ensure a future vaccination program in the country and reiterate Indonesia’s global role in health efforts.

“It is very important for us to take part in global COVID-19 handling to ensure safety for all Indonesian citizens,” he said in a press statement.

Indonesia has been working with China to procure a potential vaccine through pharmaceutical companies Sinovac and Cansino, with the United Arab Emirates through the G42 in collaboration with Sinopharm and with the United Kingdom through AstraZeneca.

Vaccine candidates from Sinovac, Cansino, G42 - Sinopharm and AstraZeneca are currently undergoing phase three clinical trials. The clinical trial for the vaccine candidate from Sinovac is being held in Bandung, West Java.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 cases in Indonesia continued to surge and the numbers rose by 4,301 within one day to 357,762, with the death toll adding by 84 to 12,431, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

According to the ministry, 4,048 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 281,592.

The virus has spread to all the country's 34 provinces.

Specifically, within the past 24 hours, Jakarta recorded 974 new cases, West Java 500, West Sumatra 450, Central Java 416 and Riau 256.

No more new positive cases were found in three provinces, namely Riau Islands, Gorontalo and North Maluku. - The Jakarta Post/Asian News Network

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