Women wearing protective masks stand at the sidewalk as they wait for a bus during rush hour, after Indonesia confirmed its first cases of COVID-19, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Image Credit: Reuters

Indonesia began its third phase of a COVID-19 vaccine trial made by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. on Tuesday and expects domestic production to start within the next six months, President Joko Widodo said in Bandung.

A successful Phase III-trial, the final stage in the vaccine development, would enable the world's fourth-most populous country to gradually return to normal activities and restore its battered economy.


As many as 1,620 volunteers participated in the trial in the capital of West Java Province. State-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma aims to produce 250 million doses of the Chinese-developed vaccine by the end of the year.

The Southeast Asia's biggest economy is still grappling with the surge in infections with the number of confirmed cases more than quintupled since the end of May.

Even so, the government has started to scale back some restrictions to allow business activities to resume amid the economy's first contraction in more than two decades.