Jakarta (ANTARA) - Ten people who had close contact with patients infected with the XBB sub-variant of Omicron in Indonesia have tested negative for the virus, spokesperson for the Health Ministry Mohammad Syahril informed.

"The Ministry of Health took anticipatory steps by testing and tracing 10 close contacts. As a result, all close contacts tested negative for the XBB sub-variant of COVID-19," he said in Jakarta on Saturday.

The XBB sub-variant, which caused the recent spike in cases in Singapore, has been detected in Indonesia, he added.

The first case of XBB in Indonesia involved local transmission and was detected in a 29-year-old woman who had just returned from Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, he informed.

"She experienced symptoms such as cough, runny nose, and fever. She then carried out an examination and tested positive on September 26, 2022," Syahril disclosed.

The patient immediately underwent self-isolation and was declared negative for COVID-19 on October 3, he added.

Although the new XBB sub-variant spreads quickly, it is less fatal than its predecessor, namely the Omicron variant, he said.

"Nevertheless, the country cannot be said to be safe from the COVID-19 pandemic because various mutations of new variants still have the potential to continue to occur,” he added.

In the past week, there have been reports of an increase in COVID-19 cases in 24 provinces. As of Friday (October 21), the number of daily active cases increased by 239 and confirmed cases were pegged at 2,227.

Syahril said the increase in cases caused by the XBB wave in Singapore was quick: it was 0.79 times higher than the BA.5 wave and 0.46 times higher than the BA.2 wave.

He asked the public to prioritize the health protocols such as wearing masks, avoiding crowds, washing hands with soap, and immediately seeking a COVID-19 test upon experiencing symptoms of the disease.

Moreover, people have also been advised to complete their COVID-19 vaccination.

"Please immediately find a booster vaccine to reduce morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19," he said.

The Ministry of Health has also increased the supervision of Indonesian and foreign nationals arriving at the country's entrances.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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