Govt tightens surveillance of travelers from nations with COVID spike

Govt tightens surveillance of travelers from nations with COVID spike

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Let’s make wearing masks and washing hands as our lifestyle.

Jakarta (ANTARA) – At least 19 countries where most overseas travelers (PPLNs) visiting Indonesia come from are currently experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, the Health Ministry has noted.

“The five countries whose citizens often enter Indonesia are Australia, Malaysia, India, Singapore, and the United Kingdom (UK),” director for health surveillance and quarantine at the ministry, Achmad Farchanny Tri Adryanto, said at the “Talkshow for Facing New Variants: Tighten Health Protocols, Complete Vaccination” on Thursday.

Out of the five countries, the new XBB variant of COVID-19 has been detected the most in India and Singapore.

According to the ministry’s data, as of October 19, 2022, in addition to the five countries, the United States, Germany, South Korea, France, Russia, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, China, Spain, and Canada have also reported a surge in infections.

The director appealed to all parties to stay vigilant since some of the 19 countries are located adjacent to Indonesia, such as Singapore, thus there are concerns that the spike in cases in those countries may also affect Indonesia.

“The number of overseas travelers coming from Singapore reached 26,851 on October 9–15 (2022). Thus, on average, around 20 thousand to 30 thousand people enter Batam city (Riau Islands province) from Singapore per week,” he noted.

Related news: XBB variant transmits faster than BA.5, BA.2: Government

The government will continue to monitor the global situation and the development of the transmission of the XBB variant, he stated.

To prevent large-scale transmission of the variant in Indonesia, the government is currently increasing health quarantine surveillance.

The surveillance is being carried out not only on overseas travelers, but also on transportation and shipments at cross-border posts (PLBNs), especially those arriving from countries affected by the XBB variant.

In addition, the Health Ministry is also trying to improve the vaccination coverage as well as the Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) examination of the detected COVID-19 cases in all laboratories and health offices.

“All positive cases which we find must be further examined by Whole Genome Sequencing examination. Thus, we can find out the variants and sub-variants causing the cases as soon as possible,” Adryanto said.

He also appealed to the public to bolster the observance of the health protocols and remain disciplined in implementing them.

“Let’s make wearing masks and washing hands as our lifestyle. Then, secondly, let’s complete our vaccination doses,” he added.

Related news: Ministry confirms recovery of four patients with XBB variant

Related news: Prompt herd immunity formation protects Indonesia from XBB: Minister

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