JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian Ministry of Health has announced that it has traced the two carriers of the B.1.1.7 Covid-19 strain from Great Britain, a day after the government announced that the mutation made its way to Indonesia.
“The two B.1.1.7 cases made its way to Indonesia via Indonesian nationals returning from Saudi Arabia,” said Ministry of Health spokesperson Siti Nadia Tarmizi on Wednesday.
She confirmed that the strain is more transmissible, but not more deadly, than the SARS CoV-2 variant from Wuhan, China that has been found in Indonesia over the past year.
Health authorities in the West Java town of Karawang, the hometown of the two cases, confirmed the Ministry of Health’s findings.
“The two B.1.1.7 cases were identified as 45-year old A and 40-year old M, two Indonesian migrant workers returning from Saudi Arabia. The former flew back to Indonesia on January 28, while the latter returned three days later,” said Karawang Health Services head Nanik Jodjana.
“The two were given PCR tests, along with other passengers from overseas, before they were quarantined. They were among seven people from West Java who tested positive for Covid-19. However, they tested negative by the time they returned to Karawang.”
The Covid-19 Task Force voiced their certainty that the two, who are self-isolating in their homes, contracted the B.1.1.7 strain overseas.
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“We cannot say for certain which country they contracted B.1.1.7 in, but they definitely got it overseas as they returned from Saudi Arabia,” said the spokesperson for the Covid-19 Task Force in Karawang, Fitra Hergyana.