Epidemiologist from Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra, Defriman Djafri has called on the government to intensify screening, testing, tracing and analysis of whole genome sequences (WGS) to suppress the spread of COVID-19 Omicron variant in the country.
“This strategy is to ensure that we can identify quickly, and the identified cases must be strictly quarantined, on account that the Omicron variant can spread faster than other variants,” Djafri said when contacted by ANTARA here on Sunday.
Omicron, which is included as a variant of concern (VOC), he continued, requires serious handling to eradicate it.
Djafri also asked the public to continue strict implementation of health protocols in their daily lives, by always wearing masks, maintaining distance, and washing hands, as well as limiting non-essential travel.
“Strict implementation of health protocols is currently the cheapest and most effective solution to contain transmission,” he said.
Djafri added that the public should not be negligent in implementing health protocols even though they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Even though people have been vaccinated, people should not be ignorant and feel they are immune to the virus by not wearing masks or implementing health protocols that they have implemented so far to reduce the risk of transmission,” he said.
The Health Ministry previously reported that two of Omicron’s confirmed COVID-19 patients had died.
These two cases are the first fatalities in Indonesia due to Omicron, a new variant with a fairly high transmission rate.
“One patient who was affected by local transmission died at the Sari Asih Ciputat Hospital and another one who was a foreign traveler, he died at the Sulianti Saroso Hospital,” said the Health Ministry spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi.
Since December 15, 1,161 cases of Omicron infection have been reported in Indonesia.
Source: Antara News