Jakarta (ANTARA) - The projection of a peak in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia at July-end might change due to the wave of imported cases from Hajj pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated.

"We will see the development in cases after Hajj pilgrims start returning from the Holy Land. Maybe there will be a change in the prediction since those pilgrims might have been confirmed positive for COVID-19," Sadikin noted during the launch of the BioColoMelt-Dx molecular diagnostic kit at Darmais Hospital, Jakarta, on Tuesday.

However, the minister has not specifically stated the number of Indonesian pilgrims, who have been confirmed positive for COVID-19.

Sadikin remarked that the Ministry of Health, along with epidemiology experts, estimated that the peak of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia would occur at the end of July 2022, reaching 20 thousand more active cases.

Initially, this prediction was calculated based on observations in South Africa, as the country of origin, for the spread of BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants in several countries, including Indonesia, where they constitute more than 81 percent of the cases.

The surge in cases in South Africa in the past month was only a third of the increase in cases at the peak of the Omicron BA.1 variant. Hospitalized patients constituted only a third of the Omicron peak, Sadikin added.

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If Indonesia emulates the pattern that occurred in South Africa, it is estimated that the peak of cases in the country will reach 30 percent of the peak of Omicron, or the equivalent of 20 thousand patients, with sloping cases afterward.

In comparison with other countries, the increase recorded in India was almost the same as that in Indonesia. The surge in BA.4 and BA.5 cases was higher than that in the United Kingdom, Portugal, the United States, and Japan, the minister stated.

"France and the United States have over 100 thousand cases, including Singapore, Japan," he disclosed.

Related news: 143 BA.4, BA.5 cases detected in Indonesia: ministry

Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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