Delta Variant Hits 9 Indonesian Provinces, Spreads Faster: Health Minister

13 July 2021 06:02 WIB

The Indonesian Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin visited the ICU Covid-19 at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM), Jakarta. This visit is to encourage health workers or health workers who are on duty. Ministry of Health

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said that hospitals are increasingly struggling to handle Covid-19 patients following outbreaks of the delta variant. Variant B.1.617.2 of the novel coronavirus has been reported to spread more quickly and has cause higher risks of severity for infected people.

According to the minister, the delta variant's spread not predicted. "No one suspected the Covid-19 w delta variant's transmission speed and scope," Budi said in an interview with Tempo Magazine on July 9.

Budi said the government knew that in March the delta variant had entered several regions.

"We tried to anticipate, but [the variant] transmits faster than predicted by many global scientists. Not only in Indonesia, both in the UK and Israel, the rise in new cases has been high as well," he said.

According to the latest data from the Health Ministry's Research and Development Agency as of July 6, 2021, a total of 436 cases of the delta variant were found in nine provinces. Most are in Jakarta with 195 cases, followed by West Java (134), Central Java (80), East Java (13), Banten (4), Central Kalimantan (3), East Kalimantan (3), South Sumatra (3), and Gorontalo (1).

The number showed that in just a month, the cases found had quadrupled and scope of spread had widen. 

Epidemiologists believe that the number of delta variant cases is underreported and actually far higher. The variant can only be detected through whole genome sequencing (WGS), while the number of laboratories with WGS equipment is very limited. Therefore, the sequences examined are still few and do not describe the conditions in the field.

The full interview with Minister Budi Gunadi is available in this week's edition of Majalah Tempo and Tempo English Magazine.

Read also: Delta Variant Mutation Unpredicted, Govt Staff Recalls

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