Health Minister Budi Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin gives a press statement about vaccine arrival from Sinovac at Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Banten on April 18, 2021. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Iqbal)

India and S. African Covid-19 Variants Found in Jakarta and Bali


MAY 04, 2021

Jakarta. Jakarta has detected two cases of a highly infectious coronavirus variant first identified in India, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin announced on Monday.

In addition, Bali has identified one case of the South African B1351 variant. And so far, Indonesia has also found 13 cases of the so-called B117 variant from the UK.

"We must keep our guards up. We have informed the president that the Indian and South African variants have entered Indonesia," Budi said in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted from Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu.

"We must contain [the virus transmission] as there are still a few cases. The virus will immediately spread because they are more contagious," Budi warned.

According to Budi, the government will isolate those who have tested positive for Covid-19. They will also ramp up testing and tracing close contacts in the surrounding areas. 

The World Health Organization has identified the B117 and B1351 as variants of concern due to evidence of increased transmissibility. 

Meanwhile, the Indian variant —formally known as the B1617— is drawing global attention, as India is currently suffering from the world's largest case surges. Scientists are also still studying whether the new variant is what fueled the Covid tsunami in India.