The recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK and countries in Europe caused by the AY.4.2 variant has received special attention from the Indonesian government, which is currently trying to maintain the downward trend in cases that has been achieved in recent months.
Spokesman for the COVID-19 Task Force (Satgas) Wiku Adisasmito said the government was monitoring the AY.4.2 variant, which is part of the Delta variant. He explained that the type of AY variant is quite diverse, starting from the AY.1 to AY.2.8 variant.
“Therefore, we cannot yet know whether these various types of delta variants have special characteristics that can affect the transmission rate, symptom severity, or vaccination, because studies related to this are still ongoing,” said Wiku in a press teleconference in Jakarta, Thursday. (28/10).
Furthermore, Wiku explained that to prevent the entry of any new variants or mutations from COVID-19 into the country, the government will continue to maximize the implementation of the COVID-19 pandemic prevention strategy, namely the implementation of quarantine for international travelers for five days, increasing 3T (testing, tracing) efforts. , treatment), enforcement of health protocols, and expanding the scope of COVID-19 vaccination, especially for the elderly. According to him, this strategy is also believed to be able to minimize the formation of new mutations in Indonesia.
Previously, Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin some time ago revealed that the AY.4.2 variant has the potential to cause an increase in the number of new cases in the country, but until now, this variant has not been found in Indonesian territory.
“This variant is a derivative of the delta variant which has increased the number of confirmed cases in the UK, since July-October this year and is still increasing. Then second, we see that some countries in Europe are indeed increasing cases,” said Budi.
The government also continues to anticipate the possibility of a third wave due to the emergence of new variants and also the increase in community mobility.
Along with the increase in population mobility, there has been an increase in cases in 105 districts/cities spread across 30 provinces in the last two weeks. Even so, the increase in the number of cases that occurred was still within the safe limits of the World Health Organization (WHO), but Budi said that his party would continue to suppress the spread of the corona virus outbreak so that it could be controlled properly.
“For that, what needs to be done (now is) from a surveillance perspective, we will ensure that all close contacts must be tested, because that is where the biggest risk of spreading is,” explained Budi.
Can Have a Worse Impact
Epidemiologist from Australia’s Griffith University Dicky Budiman said the government should be wary of the emergence of the AY.4.2 variant. He explained that the spread of variants originating from the delta was quite short considering the spread rate reached 10 percent in the past month.
“This shows he has the ability to infect or the speed of spread can be at least the same or even more than the delta variant itself. Then, in terms of not only the case of infection, the case of death is relatively quite significant, as seen from the data in the UK, so we need to be very careful,” he said. FLY.
On Thursday (21/10) last week, the UK recorded 50,000 new cases of COVID-19. This number is the largest since mid-July when the country began to relax social restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Until now, the variant has spread in 33 countries including neighboring Thailand. Therefore, Dicky sees that the potential for this variant to enter the country is quite high. To respond to this, the most important thing, according to him, is that the government must pursue full-dose vaccination coverage, which is still less than 50 percent.
As of Thursday (28/10) data from the Ministry of Health showed that the number of residents who had received the full dose of the vaccine reached 72,061,077 or around 34.6 percent of the vaccination target.
“This response (two-dose vaccination.red) is of course the first interest in the Indonesian context (and) not booster, at least until the end of this year. We must pursue our vaccination coverage. This is still a PR, because our full vaccination coverage is still in the 30s, this is certainly very vulnerable, not only the problem of new variants, but also the problem of preventing the next wave of this pandemic, “concluded Dicky. [gi/rs]