Indonesia reports first case of Omicron variant, SE Asia News & Top Stories

JAKARTA (REUTERS) – Indonesia has identified its first case of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the country’s health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Thursday (Dec 16).

The case was detected on Wednesday evening and was an employee at the Wisma Atlet hospital in Jakarta.

The health minister said so far there was no community transmission, but there were five more suspected Omicron cases, including two Indonesians who had recently returned from the United States and three Chinese nationals currently in quarantine in Manado, North Sulawesi.

The government is waiting for genomic sequencing to determine those cases. The country hasn’t found community transmission of Omicron cases yet, Mr Budi added.

The Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa and Hong Kong last month, has now been reported by more than 70 countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), including in neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

Preliminary evidence indicates that Covid-19 vaccines may be less effective against infection and transmission linked to the variant, which also carries a higher risk of reinfection, the WHO said.

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