BALICURRENT.com, -12/02/2022, BALI; XBB and BQ.1 variants in Bali are on the rise.
If it seems that more individuals are getting COVID-19 these days, it might be due to the BA.5 variant. It is different from the original Omicron BA.1 in several ways, which makes it spread faster. Even though BA.5 might not be more dangerous than previous variants, some people get sick again soon after getting over a COVID-19 infection.
“There is still COVID in the community right now in Indonesia.” “The pandemic is not over,” said Dr. Mohammad Syahril, a Ministry of Health spokesperson. “The holiday season is just around the corner, and we’re seeing some sickness, so people need to do all they can to protect themselves.”
Based on data from the Ministry of Health (Kemenkes), both tourists and people who live in Bali should be careful about XBB and BQ.1 variants.
XBB and BQ.1 symptoms include fever. People who recently received COVID-19 should not overlook modest symptoms such a sore throat or runny nose. Anyone suspecting illness should be tested. If a home test is negative, take more or arrange a PCR test.
Dr. Mohammad Syahril, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said in a statement quoted by Bali Current on Friday (2/12), that the two variants dominate all types of COVID-19 variants currently circulating in Indonesia.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, the XBB and BQ.1 variants now make up 90% of OMICRON, while the BA.5 variant has fallen to 10%.
“This means that the number of this new variant, which is XBB and BQ.1, is very close to 100 percent,” he said.
According to Syahril, because of its ability to infect faster, this variant must be watched out for by all people, especially as the long holidays of Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023, which are just around the corner.
He urged all parties to complete the COVID-19 vaccination dose as soon as possible in order to boost antibodies against the virus.
According to Ministry of Health data for the period October 4-21 November 2022, the number of patients with moderate-severe-critical symptoms reached 17,442 people.
If the impact of not being vaccinated is considered, 39 percent have not been vaccinated, 7% have only received the first dose, 25% have received the second dose, and only 29 percent have received the booster.
During the same time period, the number of deaths reached 2,449 people.
Whereas 48% had not been vaccinated at all, another 8% had only received the first dose, 26% had received the second dose, and only 18% had a booster.
“This proportion has a significant impact on a person’s admission to hospital treatment.”
“It can be seen here that the oldest patients are those over 60 years old who have not been vaccinated,” he said.
Syahril also stated that 40-50 percent of COVID-19-related hospital deaths occurred in patients who had not been fully vaccinated.
After XBB and BQ1 took over, the government is once again committed to solving the problem by focusing on the pandemic. In addition to vaccines, the government is also figuring out how likely it is that someone will get sick and tracking COVID-19.
The government is also working to make sure that health care stays the same from the beginning to the end.
Apart from Antigen and PCR, the government is also promoting Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), which has begun to be expanded throughout Indonesia’s laboratories to ensure that other new variants of COVID-19 are born from other mutations.
One of them was the Integrated Biomedical Laboratory at Udayana University, which received a Whole Genome Sequencing machine in March 2022 to help in the implementation of SARS-CoV-2 genome monitoring.
To support these efforts, Ir. Budi Gunadi Sadikin, CHFC, CLU, Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, was joined by Dr. apt. Rizka Andalusia, M.Pharm., MARS, Director General of Pharmacy and Medical Devices at the Indonesian Ministry of Health; the Chancellor of Udayana University, Prof. Dr. Ir. I Nyoman Gde Antara, M.Eng., IPU; the President Director of Sanglah Hospital.
How does Whole Genome Sequencing help COVID-19 subvariants in Bali?
Whole genome sequencing can provide detailed and precise data for identifying outbreaks sooner in Bali. Whole genome sequencing can also be used to characterize bacteria as well as track outbreaks; this greatly improves the efficiency of conducting surveillance throughout Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the government is anticipating spikes in cases through this daily monitoring in order to implement appropriate public policies. The government hopes to finally take action and maintain control in a thorough and ongoing manner.
“This vaccination is part of our efforts or strategy to bring the pandemic to an end,” said Mahommad Syahrll. “In addition, we must always communicate the risk to the community that the COVID-19 is still present.”
The fact that BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants are increasing deaths and hospitalizations in areas throughout Indonesia with high immunity is a warning that the nations response needs to be proactive in order to anticipate future Variants of Concern.
Indonesia must continue to invest in research and development to update their tools, as well as roll out vaccines, tests, and treatments to reduce and monitor transmission while mitigating the pandemic’s impact and protecting essential services. Such actions should serve as the foundation for a pandemic endgame strategy.
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