JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Indonesia's Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono Harbuwono said that 19 locally transmitted cases of several new strains of the coronavirus known as variant of concern have been detected in the country.
The variant of concern are the mutant strains of coronavirus comprising UK's variant (also known as B.1.1.7), South Africa's variant (B.1351), and India's covid-19 variant (B.1617.2).
"It means that there has been a spread of local transmission in Indonesia for the variant of concern that occurred without a history of overseas travel," said Dante on Thursday, May 27.
"We also identify several provinces where variant of concern was found. So, the mutations have occurred in several places in Indonesia," he said.
Meanwhile, Dante revealed that 35 people contracted Covid-19 while traveling overseas. This included 14 Filipino crew members whose ship berthed at the Cilacap Port. The relevant authorities then conducted contact tracing to the people in the area.
"A ship carrying Filipino nationals docked in Cilacap Port after sailing from India. We carried out genomic screening on 20 crew members and found that 14 people contracted Covid-19 which then infected 31 health care workers," he explained.
The 31 Indonesian health care workers still contracted the coronavirus even though they had equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE). Dante said contact tracing was also done in the family of the health care workers to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In total, 49 people comprising health care workers and non-health care workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Of the total number, six health care workers contracted India's Covid-19 variant.
The deputy minister said the increasing number of Covid-19 cases showed a faster transmission rate of the virus mutation.