Jakarta (ANTARA) - The pneumonia outbreak in China that affected several children was not caused by new bacteria or viruses, such as COVID-19, Indonesia's Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin stated.

Sadikin noted that based on the circular issued by his ministry and research by the World Health Organization (WHO), the recent surge in pneumonia cases in China was caused by viruses or bacteria that have existed since a long time.

"Why did this happen? (It is) because in China, conditions in the society and the environment caused these pathogens to come back to life. Hence, it is not something new like COVID or Ebola," he remarked in the Presidential Palace complex here on Wednesday.

To respond to the pneumonia outbreak, the WHO has urged all countries to strengthen prevention efforts and ensure surges in cases of diseases, such as pneumonia, can be handled well.

"Because this (pneumonia) already exists, (and) the medicines are also already available. The detection method also exists," he remarked.

The minister appealed to parents to ensure their children have good immunity to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases, such as pneumonia.

An increase in pneumonia cases nationally was first reported by the National Health Commission of China on November 13, 2023, according to WHO.

China recorded 205 influenza clusters in a week starting from November 13, as compared to 127 clusters in the previous week.

Patients experienced symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, and cough, but to date, there have been no reports of deaths.

The commission attributed the increase in respiratory disease infections to the circulation of known pathogens, especially influenza, as well as mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, adenovirus, as well as COVID-19.

Another factor contributing to the spread of viruses is the arrival of winter, which this year is China's first since the country lifted its zero-COVID policy almost a year ago.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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