Jakarta (ANTARA) - The number of patients detected with the Omicron XBB 1.5 sub-variant or Kraken has reached three so far, including a foreign traveler and a close contact of another patient, the Indonesian Health Ministry has reported.

"Until now, there have been three cases of Kraken in Indonesia, and generally, the patients have mild symptoms," director of prevention and control of infectious diseases at the ministry Siti Nadia Tarmizi informed in Jakarta on Thursday.

The three patients include a traveler from Poland who was detected with the sub-variant on January 11, 2023, while he was in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.

During the tracing of his close contacts, two residents of Jakarta and one resident of South Kalimantan tested negative, Tarmizi informed.

The next Kraken infection was reported from Pamulang, South Tangerang, in a 47-year-old Umrah pilgrim on January 31, 2023. The female patient is known to have received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the last dose administered on February 12, 2022.

Tarmizi said that COVID-19 vaccination provides protection to people by helping reduce the potential for transmission.

"Vaccines may reduce the risk of transmission, but that does not mean that they can fully stop the transmission. Vaccines are effective in reducing the risk of serious illness and death because vaccine protection reaches more than 95 percent," she explained.

During the close contact tracing of ten people who interacted with the Pamulang patient, one was confirmed positive for the Kraken sub-variant.

Tarmizi said that all Kraken patients experienced mild symptoms such as runny nose and cough. Two of them were reported to have recovered after undergoing quarantine at their respective residences.

Separately, the postgraduate director of YARSI University Professor Tjandra Yoga Aditama urged the relevant authorities to monitor the increasing number of Kraken cases in Indonesia.

“(Anticipatory steps are required) For example, by detecting a suspected case with PCR test and whole genome sequencing, carrying out intensive contact tracing, especially since this is indeed more easily transmitted," he advised.

Aditama also underlined the need for the provision of bivalent vaccines to the public that are effective against old variants and also Omicron.

"Scientifically, the effectiveness of the vaccine will be reassessed for the possibility of new sub-variants in the future," he said.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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