Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said he is optimistic that there will be no spike in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia during the Christmas and New Year holidays as COVID-19 transmission due to new variants has subsided.

"Hopefully, no (spike in cases) because the (transmission of) new variants have declined now," he said here on Wednesday.

Sadikin noted that a spike in cases is not caused by people's mobility but by the emergence of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus. Meanwhile, the transmission of new variants found in Indonesia, such as XBB and BQ.1, has peaked.

Due to the declining transmission rate, he believed that during the Christmas and New Year's holidays, a spike in new cases would not occur in Indonesia.

Regarding the BN.1 sub-variant, he affirmed that there have been no reports that say it can cause COVID-19 cases to spike.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health reported that the number of cases of the BN.1 sub-variant of Omicron has, so far, reached 20. The sub-variant was first detected in Riau Islands province on September 16, 2022.

Head of the ministry's communication and public service bureau, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, informed that the 20 cases of BN.1 comprised 9 cases in Jakarta; 5 cases in Central Java; 3 cases in Riau Islands; and 1 case each in North Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan.

According to Tarmizi, the BN.1 sub-variant is a sub-lineage of BA.2.75, which is a derivative of the Omicron variant. The sub-variant was first reported in India in late July 2022.

The first case of COVID-19 in Indonesia was confirmed in March 2020. According to data from the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, as of December 14, the nation has recorded 6,704,268 COVID-19 cases, 6,508,515 recoveries, and 160,311 deaths.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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