"These three variants -- the lambda, mu, and C.1.2 -- do not yet exist in Indonesia," Sadikin confirmed during a press conference on the extension of public activity restrictions monitored here, Monday.
The minister remarked that the lambda variant was initially found in Peru in December 2020, which then spread to 42 countries. He further noted that the mu variant first surfaced in Colombia in January 2021 and thereafter spread to 49 countries, while C.1.2 was identified in South Africa in May 2021 and has spread to nine countries.
According to Sadikin, a team of experts is studying these three viruses to understand their behavior and transmission rates as well as to gain clarity on whether they can avoid detection by antibodies that are naturally built or produced by vaccinations.
"No definite research results have been found until now. However, these three variants do not yet exist in Indonesia," Sadikin remarked.
In a bid to prevent the entry of the three virus variants into Indonesia, the government is strengthening all entry points of the country by tightening the quarantine process by air, sea, or land.
Related news: Mu variant yet to be detected in Indonesia: Health Ministry
Earlier, the government had acted swiftly as a precautionary measure against the entry of mu variant of the COVID-19 virus into the country by increasing surveillance at all entry gates to Indonesia from abroad.
Minister of Communication and Informatics Johnny G. Plate ensured that surveillance is conducted at all entry points, including airports and ports.
All Indonesian citizens or foreigners with a travel history to countries reportedly witnessing increased transmission of the mu variant, such as Colombia, Japan, India, Hong Kong, and Ecuador, undergo examinations using the Whole Genome Sequencing method.
This Genome Sequencing Test attempts to determine the spread of mutations of the SARS-Cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
Plate confirmed that Indonesia was able to conduct around 1,866 Genome Sequencing tests per month from 21 laboratory networks spread across several regions.
According to Plate, the number of these tests increased significantly as compared to a year ago, wherein only 340 Genome Sequencing tests could be conducted per month.
From January to August 2021, the Ministry of Health has conducted 6,161 Genome Sequencing tests to identify the new SARS-CoV-2 variant that causes COVID-19. (INE) Related news: COVID-19: Expert lists measures to prevent Mu variant spread
Related news: DPD Speaker asks govt to remain alert for Mu variant