Coronavirus pandemic (representative image) Photograph:( Reuters )
Last month, Indonesia stopped issuing visas for foreigners who had been in India in the previous two weeks
Indonesia on Monday recorded the first case of the variant of COVID-19 which was first spotted in India. The country’s health ministry urged people to avoid travel during as the holy month of Ramzan nears its end.
Last month, Indonesia stopped issuing visas for foreigners who had been in India in the previous two weeks. The variant from India is known as B.1.617. Two cases of the mutant were found in Jakarta. The health minister, Budi Gunadi Sadikin added that they’ve also found cases of the variant first found in South Africa in Bali.
"We need to contain these cases, while there are still only a few of them," Budi Gunadi Sadikin said during a virtual conference.
Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim-majority country and the authorities have banned the ceremonial visits marked among relatives on the Eid al-Fitr festival. "Do not return to your hometown. Do not go on holiday in your hometown. Be patient," Doni Monardo, the head of Indonesia's COVID-19 task force added during the conference.
Even then, many people could be seen leaving their homes to escape the deadlines set by the government.
Currently, scientists are trying to ascertain the scale of the spread of variant from India and whether it is responsible for the devastating surge in cases. Now, the variant has been spotted in at least 17 countries including the United Kingdom, Iran, and Switzerland. Owing to this, many countries have stopped travel to and from India.
So far, Indonesia has reported more than 1.67 million cases of COVID-19. The country has also reported 45,700 deaths. But the cases have continued to decline since January. The positivity rate in the country is averaging 12 per cent every month. The World Health Organization considers positivity rates above 5 per cent dangerous.
(With inputs from agencies)