Omicron BA.4, BA.5 Subvariant Cases Found in Bali, Health Ministry Reports

Diana Mariska
Swab test in Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta, on Monday, December 27, 2021. (Photo: Budhiyanto)
Swab test in Mampang Prapatan, South Jakarta, on Monday, December 27, 2021. (Photo: Budhiyanto) - The Ministry of Health has confirmed that four cases of COVID-19 Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have been found in Bali province.

Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin said upon the case finding, the Ministry is bracing for another surge in COVID-19 cases in the country as the new strains have triggered case spike in European, American, and Asian countries.

“There have been variants under monitoring (VUM), such as Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, which cause case surge in Europe, America, and Asia. And they have been found in four people in Bali,” Sadikin said on Friday, June 10, as reported by Antara.

According to the Minister, the two variants are characterized with their ability to evade the immunity of human body formed by vaccine, and they also spread relatively quickly.

According to the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 (stealth omicron) is the dominant COVID-19 strain in the US while BA.4 and BA.5 make up seven percent of new confirmed cases in the country.

Minister Sadikin confirmed the BA.4 and BA.5 cases were detected in Bali in May, and the result of genome sequencing was received by the Ministry of Health on Thursday, June 9.

He also said the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the globe, including Indonesia, is caused by the new variants.

“It’s not due to holidays, but new variants,” Sadikin stated.

Despite case surge, according to him, the 31 percent increase of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia in the last three weeks is still considered under control based on two indicators set out by the World Health Organization (WHO), which are positivity rate and transmission rate.

Nationally, the positivity rate is currently at 1.15 percent while the transmission rate is one per 100,000 people – way lower that the rate set out by WHO at 20 per 100,000 people per week.

“What matters most now is [getting] booster shot. And try to always use mask inside a packed room,” Sadikin warned.

Tag # covid19 # omicron variant # omicron subvariant # indonesia covid19 # ministry of health # booster rollout # booster in indonesia

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