From WHO (World Health Organization) indicators for infection rate at the community level, it is still far from 20 per 100,000 population.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Health Ministry has urged people to remain alert for the Omicron XBB.1.16 sub-variant of COVID-19 or Arcturus as it is 1.5 times more infectious compared to the XBB.1.5 or Kraken sub-variant.

Ahead of this year's Eid al-Fitr, the number of daily COVID-19 cases has increased to around 900, disease prevention and control director general Maxi Rein Rondonuwu said.

Among the COVID-19 cases detected recently, two infections in Jakarta in March 2023 were caused by Arcturus, he informed after sending off the 2023 Eid al-Fitr Travel Monitoring Team here on Monday.

The two Arcturus patients have since been declared to have recovered. "Other cases are still Kraken, thus the cases are still dominated by old variants," Rondonuwu said.

While daily COVID-19 cases have increased from 200 on average to 900, infections are still considered to be under control.

"From WHO (World Health Organization) indicators for infection rate at the community level, it is still far from 20 per 100,000 population," he said.

Despite this, he asked the public to continue to implement the health protocols and get vaccinations up to the booster dose to prevent an infection.

Masks are expected to still be worn in public places, especially inside buildings, vehicles, buses, and airplanes, he said.

He also suggested that citizens carry hand sanitizer throughout Eid al-Fitr homecoming travel.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and its variants, the ministry is carrying out surveillance at all entry points to Indonesia and Eid al-Fitr homecoming destinations.

Testing and tracing will continue to be undertaken if positive cases are found. Genomic surveillance will also be strengthened, he said.

There are currently 49 genome examination laboratories to determine the currently spreading coronavirus variants, he informed.

"We will certainly improve surveillance. We expect that we take the sample of every case that enters the hospital and examine the positive ones," he said.

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Sri Haryati
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