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Omicron new sub-variants in Indonesia, people urged to maintain health protocol

Tempo - June 11, 2022

Antara, Jakarta – Indonesia reported four patients infected with the new subvariant of Covid-19 omicron, BA.4 and BA.5. One patient infected with BA.4 is an Indonesian, and the other three infected with BA.5 are foreign citizens, who are the delegations of the Global Platform Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) event in Bali.

Health Ministry spokesperson, Mohammad Syahril, asked the people to maintain the strict health protocols following the frequent emergence of Omicron subvariant of BA.4 and BA.5 in the country.

"Health protocol becomes the main effort besides vaccination. We definitely don't want a surge of cases like [what happened to] the previous Delta or Omicron variants," he said.

He added that the loosened mask mandate outdoor would be evaluated if there is an increase in cases caused by the new subvariants.

The three patients infected with the new subvariant showed no symptoms and another patient had a sore throat and fatigue. Syahril explained that despite the faster transmission of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, there has been no indication of a higher severity level than the previous Omicron subvariants.

"So, there's no need to panic, [it is] light symptom and we can self-isolate," he said.

However, Syahril iterated that the two subvariants have a decreased ability against the monoclonal antibody therapy and are able to avoid or escape from the body immunity that is established through vaccination or naturally.

"What we must watch out for is the [virus'] immune escape ability, meaning that it can avoid one's immunity."

Therefore, the discipline in implementing health protocols must stay in place, considering that the four patients had received complete doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. "Most of them are vaccinated, even some have received four doses," he remarked.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1600774/omicron-new-sub-variants-in-indonesia-people-urged-to-maintain-health-protoco