Health Ministry denies Omicron detected in Bekasi, West Java

Health Ministry denies Omicron detected in Bekasi, West Java

Spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccinations for the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi. (ANTARA/Andi Firdaus)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Spokesperson for COVID-19 Vaccinations for the Ministry of Health Siti Nadia Tarmizi has said that a report on the detection of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) coronavirus variant in Bekasi District, West Java, is untrue.

"It is not true (the report on Omicron variant). Up until now, there is no case of Omicron (in Indonesia)," she stressed here on Wednesday.

Tarmizi informed that her office had checked the information with laboratory officers in the region after a report emerged of four residents getting infected with the new COVID-19 variant.

"The Ministry of Health continues to increase the coverage of genome sequencing from the patients that are infected by COVID-19 in a bid to anticipate early the (spread of) Omicron and new variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the country," she said.

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As of now, there are 11 units of the genome sequencing engine in Indonesia, which are expected to help accelerate the detection of new variants of COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, she added.

To bolster efforts to prevent the entry of new COVID-19 variants, the government is also tightening supervisions on international travelers, Tarmizi said.

Earlier, head of the Bekasi District Health Office, Sri Enny Mainiarti, had shared a report on online mass media stating that the Omicron variant had been detected in four Jakarta residents based on a sample examination at Farmalab Laboratory, West Cikarang, Bekasi District.

The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Indonesia in March 2020. According to data provided by the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, as of December 7, 2021, at least 4,258,076 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country, while 4,108,717 people have recovered, and 143,893 people have succumbed to the deadly virus.

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