"If it (Mu variant) is not anticipated, this variant can transmit in Indonesia, and it is feared that it could cause another COVID-19 tsunami," he said in an official statement received here on Thursday.
According to Mattalitti, the Mu variant is said to have resistance to the vaccine. The variant was first detected in Colombia and has now been confirmed in 39 countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has included it in the list of Variants of Interest, or SARS-CoV-2 variants that have the genetic ability to affect the characteristics of the virus.
"Although not as virulent as the Delta variant, the Mu variant has a prevalence of 0.1 percent of all COVID-19 cases," Mattalitti observed.
Although no cases of the new variant have been detected in the country, the high mobility and opening up of the transportation sector with foreign countries can put Indonesia at potential risk, the DPD speaker said.
Therefore, the government must tighten entry routes into Indonesia from all arrival gates as an anticipatory measure, he advised.
At a press conference on Wednesday (Sept 8), spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Ministry of Health Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that the government has intensified communication with the WHO to monitor the Mu variant's spread in several countries.
She said that her staff is continuing to coordinate with officers at Indonesian entry gates to formulate policies to anticipate the possibility of the Mu variant entering the country.
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