Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated that Indonesia is better at handling the spike in cases of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants than other countries.

"Indonesia is relatively better. With its huge population, Indonesian society is more disciplined in applying health protocols and conducting vaccinations in facing the BA.4 and BA.5 wave," Sadikin noted in a press statement on the evaluation of public activities restriction (PPKM) here on Monday.

The minister said the increase in COVID-19 cases, with the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, occurred in all parts of the world, including Europe, the United States, and Asia.

According to a discussion result with an epidemiologist, he affirmed that the increase in cases was influenced by inattention and hasty policies to relax health protocols and vaccination coverage.

On the other side, he said, Indonesia still applies the rule of wearing masks indoors, in a crowd, and when unwell. However, he stated that the government still allows the public to take off masks in open spaces or outdoors.

The government has also been accelerating the administration of booster shots against COVID-19 that are proven to boost the level of antibodies, Sadikin stated.

The health minister remarked that Indonesia had yet to record the peak of the surge of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariant cases, based on the development in other countries that state numbers tended to peak 30-40 days since the first report.

"Indonesia has reached about 30 days (since the first case of BA.4 and BA.5 surfaced). Hence, we might still have one to two weeks. In comparison with other countries, their peaks have been reached," Sadikin stated.

Furthermore, COVID-19 cases with the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants in Indonesia have reached 80 percent of the total cases that have undergone genome sequencing. In Jakarta alone, the number of cases with the BA.4 and BA.5 variants reached 100 percent.

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Translator: Mentari G, Kenzu T
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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