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December 16, 2021, 09.31 PM – Indonesia detected its first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in an employee of the Wisma Atlet hospital for the Covid-19 patients in Jakarta on Wednesday, December 16.

The country’s health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that the variant was detected after three cleaners at the Wisma Atlet hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Three cleaners at the Wisma Atlet hospital were tested positive for the Covid-19 on December 8. Then, on December 10 the samples were sent to the Health Research and Development Agency [Balitbangkes] for genomic sequencing,” Budi told a virtual press conference on Thursday, December 16.

Also readIndonesia Requires 10-day Quarantine for All Arrivals over Omicron Variant

“The results came out on December 15. One of the three people who have tested positive for the coronavirus is confirmed to have been exposed to the new omicron variant,” the minister added.

“However, we hope that the public should not be panic and continue to diligently enforce health protocols.”

He also said that the ministry has detected five probable cases of omicron variant in Jakarta and Manado in North Sulawesi.

Two of the five probable cases of omicron variant were detected in Indonesians who just returned from the US and the UK. The two are undergoing isolation at the Wisma Atlet for the Covid-19 patients.

“Three other probable cases of omicron variant were found in Chinese nationals who arrived in Manado [North Sulawesi]. They are currently undergoing isolation,” he said.

Whole genome sequencing is being carried out on these five probable cases. “We hope the results will be ready in three days.”

Also readNew Omicron Variant Detected in More Countries

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo called on the public to remain calm and ensure they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, said that the omicron variant likely will spread more easily but it has not shown that it is life-threatening yet.

“I ask people who have not received the vaccine twice, immediately go to a health facility and get a vaccine,” he said in a televised message on Thursday.

The president said that the arrival of the highly transmissible variant had been inevitable as the variant spread more easily.

He underscored the importance to work hand-in-hand to prevent the omicron variant from spreading massively.

(Writers: Dian Erika Nugraheny, Haryanti Puspa Sari, Achmad Nasrudin Yahya | Editors: Kristian Erdianto, Diamanty Meiliana)



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