Jakarta (ANTARA) - The XBB sub-variant of COVID-19 has a unique trait in that it produces mild symptoms in patients and has a faster transmission rate, government spokesperson for COVID-19, Reisa Broto Asmoro, said on Monday.

"Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), we are happy because while it mutates, it has a lower fatality rate," she noted during an online health broadcast on Monday.

Based on the government's observations of the XBB sub-variant, most of the patients who suffer from it experience mild symptoms in the form of cough, runny nose, fever, muscle ache or pain, fatigue, headache, joint pain, and chills.

While other sub-variants, such as Delta, tend to attack the lower respiratory system, the XBB variant, which is still included in the Omicron family, attacks the upper respiratory system.

What differentiates it further is the fact that it also causes nausea and vomiting. Several patients also have trouble breathing, Asmoro noted.

While XBB’s symptoms can be called mild with a low fatality, another unique trait that Indonesia must watch for is its fast transmission rate.

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The high case spike seen in Singapore recently can be attributed to the fast transmission rate of XBB, which has been 0.79 times quicker than the BA.5 sub-variant and 0.46 times faster than BA.2.

According to Asmoro, all parties should be grateful since the severity of COVID-19 is declining with each new mutation.

However, she urged all parties to not underestimate it since it can potentially increase fatality and the hospital occupancy rate (BOR).

"While it has a milder symptom, we should still improve our immunity so that we can remain strong in facing this virus," she said.

She asked all parties to strengthen health protocol compliance once again, including by wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining a safe distance.

People are expected to also immediately complement their COVID-19 vaccination dose to prevent an infection.

She also emphasized the importance of creating a safe and healthy environment for everyone, especially vulnerable groups, such as elderly people, children, or people with comorbidities, who have not been vaccinated.

"We have to be careful. Try to examine yourself, know your health, and if you have a comorbidity, prioritize drug consumption and consult your personal doctor," she said.

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Translator: Hreeloita D S, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Suharto
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