Indonesia Reports First Omicron Case in Jakarta Facility


Indonesia has confirmed its first case of omicron variant of the coronavirus and detected five other probable cases in the capital Jakarta and the eastern city of Manado.

A cleaning staff at Wisma Atlet health facility in Jakarta was found to have been infected with the omicron variant when tested on Dec. 15, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said in a Thursday briefing. Whole genome sequencing is being carried out on two cases in the same facility that’s dedicated for coronavirus handling, with the result expected in three days.

There’s no sign yet of a community transmission, Sadikin added. The confirmed patient has no history of overseas travel and is asymptomatic.

“Omicron has so far not shown that it is life threatening,” President Joko Widodo said in a separate briefing, reminding people to refrain from going overseas for the time being. 

Indonesia has lengthened its required quarantine period for foreign arrivals to 10 days, from as short as three days, to curb the spread of the omicron variant. The government remains wary of a potential virus resurgence following increased travel during the year-end period, even as it pared back planned restrictions due to improved testing and vaccination.

The probable cases include two Indonesian citizens returning from the U.S. and the U.K. who are now quarantining in Wisma Atlet in Jakarta, and three Chinese citizens entering through Manado, said Sadikin. 

The government has stepped up its whole genome sequencing activity to 10% of confirmed cases, from 5% previously. It will also use more polymerase chain reaction tests with S-gene target failure to be able to detect the omicron variant faster, Sadikin said.