Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin revealed that 26 new Covid-19 virus mutations have entered Indonesia. The 26 virus mutations consisted of 14 cases of the British variant B117, 2 cases of the South African variant B1351, and 10 cases of B1617 from India.
Budi warned that these new Covid-19 variants have high transmission rates and indications are present of cases multiplying.
“India has increased, Thailand has risen, European countries have all increased because of new mutations. 26 (variants) have entered Indonesia,” Budi said in an Indonesian Ministry of Health video broadcast on Tuesday (18/5).
Two British B117 variant cases were detected in North Sumatra, one case in South Sumatra, one case in Banten, five cases in West Java, two cases in East Java, one case in East Kalimantan, and two cases in Bali.
Six cases of B117 were reported to have originated from ‘imported cases’ or brought by foreign migrant workers from Saudi Arabia and were detected in Karawang (West Java), Balikpapan (East Kalimantan), East Java, and Bogor (West Java).
The other eight cases were reported to have originated from local transmission or transmission between communities in Tapin (South Kalimantan), Palembang (South Sumatra), Medan (North Sumatra), Karawang Regency (West Java) and Tanjung Balai (North Sumatra).
Meanwhile, for the case of variant B1351 from South Africa, one case of an Indonesian citizen in Bali has been identified who has died since last February, and one recent case was found in East Java.
There are currently 10 cases of the Indian B1617 variant. 4 cases have been found in South Sumatra, 1 case in North Sumatra, 3 cases in Central Kalimantan, and 2 cases in the Greater Jakarta area.
“The virus variant will not increase from 1 to 4, then 4 to 16 etc. (It will) increase from 1 to 50, 50 to 2,500. The speed of transmission is very high,” he explained.
Budi asked the public to continue to take preventive measures by complying with 3M health protocols, which include wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining physical distancing.
Budi also asked the regional Covid-19 Task Force to aggressively carry out tests, searches, and follow-up (3T).
“We have to be careful. How do you do that? Wear a mask,” he concluded.