Indonesia Reports First Case of Omicron Variant

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 16 Desember 2021
Category: News
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Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin delivers a virtual press statement on development of COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday (12/16). (Photo by: PR of Ministry of Health)

The Indonesian Government has reported the first case of the Omicron variant in an employee at Wisma Atlet emergency hospital for COVID-19 Handling in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

“Ministry of Health has identified a confirmed Omicron case in a patient on Wednesday (12/15). We have also submitted the data to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). It has been confirmed that the data is identified as Omicron sequence,” Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a press statement on development of COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday (12/16).

According to Budi, the Ministry took a regular swab sample from hospital cleaners at Wisma Atlet hospital on Wednesday (12/8) and the results came out positive for three people.

The three swab samples were sent to the Health Research and Development Agency (Balitbangkes) for whole genome sequencing (WGS) with the results of the sample examination available on 15 December.

One out of three samples was confirmed positive for the Omicron variant.

“There were three cleaners at Wisma Atlet hospital who tested positive  after taking a PCR test, but one person was confirmed to test positive for the Omicron strain,” the Minister said.

All of the three patients, Budi said, have now been quarantined at Wisma Altet hospital with the three of them in a good health condition with no symptoms, no cough, and no fever.

The PCR tests also show negative results.

In addition to the first confirmed Omicron case, the Ministry also identified five other probable Omicron cases and those five patients have been quarantined. They have also carried out a special examination and the results have been sent to the Balitbangkes with the final results expected to be available in the next three days to see whether the samples are Omicron positive or not.

“Through the proxy S gene target failure (SGTF) screening, we detected five probable Omicron cases, including in two Indonesian citizens who have just returned from the UK and the US, as well as three other foreigners from China who travelled to Manado and are currently in quarantine in Manado,” Budi said.

The Minister also pointed out that Omicron variant could spread easily and quickly. In the UK, for example, from 10 daily cases, the number of cases has currently reached 70,000 daily, higher than that of the COVID peak cases in Indonesia in July 2021 which stood at 50,000 cases per day.

Regarding the Omicron variant, the Minister appealed to the public not to panic and to remain calm. He also said that the public must immediately take COVID-19 vaccination, especially for vulnerable groups and the elderly.

The public, he added, is also urged not to travel abroad unless for essential urgent needs, to continuously carry out dissemination on 5M health protocols (wearing a face mask, washing hands, maintaining a safe distance, avoiding crowds, and reducing mobility), and to intensify 3T efforts (testing, tracing, and treatment).

“Upon the arrival of the new variant from abroad, we carried out quarantine once we identify it. It shows that our defense system against the arrival of new variants is quite good. We need to keep it up. Therefore, it’s reasonable for travelers to undergo a 10-day quarantine to protect all Indonesian people,” the Minister remarked.

Visit the official website of Ministry of Health through this link. (PR of Ministry of Health/AIT) (RIF/EP)
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