After a year since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities in Indonesia have found two cases infected with the variant of the virus which was first found in the UK late last year.
Deputy Minister of Health Dante Saksono Harbuwono confirmed the development, saying: “I received information that right after one year we found a B117 mutation in Indonesia,” Xinhua news agency reported.
The country detected the coronavirus disease for the first time on March 2, 2020.
He said the two cases of the new variant were found on Monday evening in the Karawang district, West Java province.
Two women tested positive for the B117 coronavirus mutation.
They were migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and arrived in Indonesia at the end of January 2021.
When arriving at Soekarno Hatta Airport in Banten province, the two women underwent a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) swab test and were positive for Covid-19 after which they carried out a 14-day quarantine in Jakarta.
Following the second test that showed a negative result, they were allowed to return to Karawang.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil has also confirmed that a new variant of the coronavirus had been found in Karawang, and the provincial government is currently conducting contact tracing.
Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo also called on the people not to be nervous about detection of the virus variant.
“I call on all of you, ladies and gentlemen, not to worry about the finding of the two positive cases of B117,” he said in the Presidential Secretariat YouTube channel.
According to the President, the two people who were exposed to the new variant of the virus are now confirmed negative.
The government ensures that the Covid-19 vaccine currently used in Indonesia is still effective against the B117 variant so that people are expected not to be too worried, and continue to apply health protocols, the government’s spokesman for Covid-19 Wiku Adisasmito said.
Indonesia has so far reported 1,373,836 confirmed coronavirus cases with 37,026 deaths.