Bali medical practitioners have shared updates about community infection rates for Covid-19 on the island. News of Covid-19 cases has fallen out of conversation and news headlines recently as caseloads were kept at an all-time low. Medical teams in communities across Bali and Indonesia, more broadly, have started to see cases rising.
Medical professionals in Indonesia and around the world are observing the emergence of a ‘new class of Covid-19 Omicron sub-variant called XBB. The new sub-variant XBB is also being referred to as Gryphon. It is being reported that the new variant could take over as the dominant form of the virus.
According to Amesh A. Adalja, M.D from Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, “XBB is a hybrid version of two strains of the BA.2 form of Omicron” he confirmed that the variant is ‘spreading efficiently.” The variant has now been detected in Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, India, and Japan. It is also present in Indonesia, Singapore, and the USA.
Management from the Education Complementary Fund of the Indonesia Institute of Islamic Dawah (DPP LDII), an independent civic organization, is warning that cases are steadily rising. They are reminding the public to remain vigilant about health protocols to ensure that community transmission remains low. In the last week, Bali has been recording more than 200 new cases daily, with medical teams concerned that the infection rate will continue to increase.
Speaking to the press, LDII member and epidemiologist from Griffith University in Australia, Dicky Budiman, said that the public must prioritize their health as best they can. Budiman told reporters, “Even if you have had a booster vaccine if your body is weak, it will allow for the latest variant of Covid-19 (XBB). Moreover, the symptoms are just like those of a cold, and sore throat. That’s why it’s an important effort to include the additional vaccine”.
In his statement, he continued to explain, “It should be known that [most] people generally get sick at home, not in hospitals where health workers are registered…Don’t buy medicine without a prescription. That’s dangerous”.
He reminded the public that prevention is better than a cure and reminded people to take health protocols seriously and to consider the booster vaccine too. Budiman noted that the new XBB variant is “considered more capable of infecting humans and capable of surpassing boosters. This is further exacerbated by the high level of human mobilization with the sophistication of transportation”.
Dr. Adaljia from John Hopkins has told the public not to panic at the news that the XBB variant is better at evading the impact of the vaccine. He explained, “When it comes to evasion of vaccine protection, it’s important to recognize that vaccine protection is not all or none…“When it comes to evasion of vaccine protection, it’s important to recognize that vaccine protection is not all or none”.
According to the World Health Organisation, as of 16th November 2022, a total of 443,212,610 vaccine doses had been administered in Indonesia. On Sunday, 20th November, 6,699 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported in Indonesia. While the confirmed rates are low, actual cases are likely higher, with most people showing no or few symptoms and not all potential cases going for tests.
It remains the case that tourists entering Indonesia must possess and be able to present a proof of vaccine status certificate to Immigration officials. There are some exceptions, including travelers under the age of 18. Travelers who are medically exempt from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine must present a certificate of exception from a medical professional.
Finally, those on a diplomatic or service visa for the purposes of an official visit do not have to show a vaccine certificate. All travelers should check for an update to date travel advice before traveling to Indonesia and contact their airline and relevant consulate or embassy for formal advice regarding entry requirements.
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