JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesia continues to be vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic, after Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin has announced that the South African variant of the coronavirus has been found in the country.
Budi disclosed his findings to the media at a press conference on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel, following a cabinet meeting on Monday, May 3. “The South African [Covid-19] variant has been traced in Bali,” he said.
Budi did not disclose how many cases have been found in the so-called ‘Island of the Gods.’ He added that the South African Covid-19 variant is the latest foreign strain to be found in Indonesia, following previous Covid-19 mutations from Great Britain and India.
“We have found at least two cases of the Covid-19 strain from India, both of which are reported in Jakarta, while 13 Covid-19 cases are from the variant found in Great Britain,” he noted, making for a total of 16 cases from foreign Covid-19 variants.
While Budi also not specify whether the Covid-19 strains are of the B.1.1.7 or B.1.617 mutation, he said the variants affecting the 16 cases are ‘variants of concern’ under World Health Organization or WHO guidelines.
“The strains are ‘variants of concern’ because of their high rate of transmission. For this reason, we must take precautions when the number of these cases are still low,” he asserted.
“Our task is to isolate [identified cases], discipline in carrying out testing and contact tracing, especially in nearby areas.” He also urged the public to comply with health protocols such as wearing face masks, washing hands, and practice social distancing.”
Budi maintained that compliance with health protocols are still the most secure measure against the SARS CoV-2 strain of Covid-19 from Wuhan, China that is still the most prevalent in Indonesia, as well as from other strains.