Jakarta: The government has categorized Omicron subvariants, such as XE, XD, and XF, as viral mutations that should be watched out for during the 2022 Eid al-Fitr homecoming exodus activities, an official stated.
"Although they are said to be more contagious than the Omicron variant, and the data available so far is not sufficient yet, as part of the mitigation efforts for the exodus, these variants become a concern for us all," spokesperson for the Ministry of Health Siti Nadia Tarmizi noted in a virtual press conference accessed from YouTube here on Tuesday.
She remarked that on a global scale, several researchers had found the XE, XD, and XF subvariants. However, all of them have not been found in Indonesia.
Tarmizi explained that the XE variant is a genetic combination of the BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants, which were first detected in a specimen on January 19 in the UK. "Until now, there have been 763 cases of XE in the UK," she added.
Tarmizi noted that the XE subvariant is more contagious than BA.2.
"However, there is not enough epidemiological evidence to show the changes in society," she stated.
She further explained that the XD subvariant is a combination of Delta AY.4 and Omicron BA.1. Meanwhile, the XF subvariant was found in the UK, yet the number of cases is still very low.
The spokesperson affirmed that the Indonesian government had prepared mitigation measures for the Eid exodus as a precautionary measure against the emergence of new COVID-19 variants in the country, among others, through primary and booster vaccinations.
According to Tarmizi, the Omicron variant has shifted the position of the Delta variant in Indonesia based on the results of 9,385 genome sequencing examinations conducted since January 2022.
The number of genome sequencing examinations increased five folds as compared to the 13th week of 2021, she noted.
"We also see that the Omicron variant is dominating nationally, based on the increasing proportion of the BA.2 subvariant. Meanwhile, the spread of the Delta variant has decreased in Indonesia," she remarked.
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