Expert Deems XBB COVID-19 Variant May Have Entered Indonesia as Singapore Faces New Wave
17 October 2022 13:22 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Singapore is facing another wave of COVID-19 due to a new Omicron sub-variant, XBB. Epidemiologist Dicky Budiman predicted that the variant might already enter Indonesia given the close proximity and high mobility of people between the two countries.
“It is possible that XBB subvariants have already entered Indonesia,” said Dicky, who is also a researcher of global health security from Australia’s Griffith University, via a text message to Tempo on Monday, October 17, 2022.
He explained that in the midst of weak early detection and poor surveillance, the country is increasingly losing an adequate map to detect new virus variants.
Other than high people’s mobility, he informed, this subvariant could easily infect vaccinated people, even those who have got a booster jab. “Despite being re-infected, the severity or mortality has greatly decreased,” he added.
However, Dicky argued that it could be troublesome as it reduces productivity. Besides, if it is not immediately treated well, there will be a potential for a long COVID-19 which may cause an even greater impact on the body's organs, especially on people who have suffered the infection more than twice.
“The impact has even started to emerge now, be it hepatitis or chronic kidney failure. Those are some of the potentials of indirect impacts, which is the emergence of various outbreaks such as polio, measles, diphtheria, and so on, apart from the impact of long covid itself which can be in the form of decreased organ functions, muscle weakness, decreased endurance and so on,” Dicky reiterated.
Singapore’s Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung on Saturday, October 15, 2022, said the country is likely to experience a short and sharp wave mainly due to the Omicron XBB subvariant. It was expected to peak at an average of 15,000 daily cases by about mid-November.
MARIA FRANSISCA LAHUR
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