TEMPO.CO, Tanjungpinang - Head of the Riau Islands Health Office, Bisri, suspected that the increase in the number of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 in April 2021 was attributable to the emergence of a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2, B1525, that was detected in February 2021 in Batam.
“[We detect] one case of a new Covid-19 variant in February 2021 in Batam. One Indonesian migrant worker from Malaysia was infected [with the new variant]. This possibly spreads during the process of the person’s return,” said Bisri in Tanjungpinang, Sunday, May 2.
Bisri assessed that the new virus variant had the large potential to enter Riau Islands given that former migrant workers entered the country via Batam and Tanjungpinang.
The regional health office thus asked the Health Ministry to conduct an in-depth examination. “The research takes time. We suspect so because of the rapid transmission. We hope the transmission of new variants does not occur,” Bisri added.
Besides, Bisri acknowledged that rapid transmission of the coronavirus disease in the islands was also caused by the public negligence in the health protocols following the decline in cases since January-March 2021.
The Riau Islands Covid-19 Task Force recorded the number of positive cases in the region increased by 145, bringing the total to 11,499 cases.
“Bintan, Batam City, and Tanjungpinang are classified as the Orange Zone or at a moderate risk of Covid-19 transmission, while Karimun, Lingga, Natuna, and Anambas are the Yellow Zone or at a low risk of virus transmission,” said the task force head Tengku Said Arif Fadillah.