Alert! New Variant Arcturus of COVID-19 Detected in Indonesia

Omicron subvariants virus

Attention, the threat of Covid-19 is not over yet! The Indonesian Ministry of Health (Kemenkes) has confirmed the presence of a new variant of Covid-19 called Arcturus, also known as sub-variant Omicron XBB 1.16 in Indonesia.

According to the Head of Communication and Public Service Bureau of Kemenkes, Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi, two cases have been confirmed. “The samples were found positive in the fourth week of March. Both are from Jakarta,” said Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi.

The two cases are a 54-year-old male and a 33-year-old female. The male patient complained of symptoms such as cough, cold, and muscle pain, while the female patient’s symptoms are still being investigated. It was also revealed that the patient infected with the Arcturus variant in Jakarta had a history of travel overseas.

Dr. Ngabila Salama, Head of Epidemiology and Immunization Surveillance Section at the Jakarta Health Office, revealed that one of the patients, a male, traveled from India and arrived in Jakarta on March 16, 2023.

The patient had undergone self-isolation after being identified as positive in mid-March and was declared recovered in early April 2023. Both patients with the Arcturus variant had a history of complete vaccination up to the third dose.

The emergence of the Arcturus variant in Indonesia coincides with a resurgence in Covid-19 cases. On April 11, the national confirmed positive cases reached 944 cases in a single day. Although the public is advised “not to worry,” experts say that the use of masks is still necessary to “protect vulnerable groups.”

The increase in Covid-19 infections is not only happening in Indonesia but also in several other countries such as India, South Korea, Japan, Russia, Germany, Malaysia, the United States, and France. The number of additional cases in these countries on April 11, 2023, ranged from 1,000-12,000 positive cases.

Previously, the Arcturus variant was believed to be the main cause of the surge in Covid-19 cases in several countries, including India. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, the number of new Covid-19 cases in the country reached 5,880 and is believed to be dominated by the Arcturus sub-variant.

A study by scientists at the University of Tokyo found that the Arcturus variant is 1.2 times more infectious than the Kraken strain, which was previously highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO). They warned that the Arcturus sub-variant would spread worldwide soon.

As of now, the symptoms of Covid-19 Arcturus are claimed to be the same as the symptoms of other Omicron sub-variants. However, health authorities and experts continue to monitor the situation closely and urge the public to remain vigilant in taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.