UK and India COVID-19 variants found in Greater Tangerang Area

A visualization of the coronavirus. Photo: Unsplash
A visualization of the coronavirus. Photo: Unsplash

Health authorities in Banten province say they have detected two dangerous mutations of the coronavirus in three patients from the Greater Tangerang Area so far, raising alarm for a possible spread to the capital Jakarta and beyond.

Banten Health Agency chief Ati Pramudji Hastuti said genome sequencing tests on recent patients in the province led to the discovery of the more infectious B117 strain, which was first discovered in the UK, and the dangerous B1617 double mutation that is currently ravaging India.

The B117 strain was found in a Tangerang regency resident, who recently returned from Saudi Arabia, while the B1617 strain was found in two patients from South Tangerang, who were infected by their children who live in Jakarta. All three are reportedly still under medical treatment.

South Tangerang and Tangerang regency, which, together with Tangerang city make up the Greater Jakarta Area, border the outskirts of Jakarta, with millions regularly commuting between the municipalities. 

Jakarta has yet to report local transmission of the more concerning B1617 strain, but the Health Ministry yesterday confirmed that a local health worker, who tended to recent foreign arrivals who have been infected with the coronavirus, has the mutation.

The Health Ministry today followed up on B1617 developments and confirmed that at least one of 49 Indian nationals who arrived in Indonesia, before the enforcement of the India travel ban on April 25, has the mutation. The samples of the other 48 patients are still being analyzed.

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