The Ministry of Health: The Peak of the XBB Variant Will Occur at the End of the Year

Subvariant Omicron, XBB, has been detected in Indonesia

Covid-19 cases have recently skyrocketed again. The XBB variant is believed to be the main culprit behind this. Therefore, The Ministry of Health predicts that the Omicron peak will occur at the end of next year.

The peak moment of this XBB variant coincides with the long holiday moments of Christmas 2022 and New Year 2023.

Vice President Ma’ruf Amin explained that the reports he received were indeed an increase in cases. Including increased mortality, for people who have not been vaccinated. For this reason, the government has not downgraded the pandemic status to endemic.

Ma’ruf said, when there is an increase in Covid-19 cases, the government will likely evaluate the policies that are currently in progress.

“I really think that every day of the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Nataru, there is more community movement,” said Ma’ruf.

Ma’ruf emphasized that the government would evaluate whether to apply special provisions like in previous years.

Furthermore, University of Indonesia (UI) epidemiologist Tri Yunis Miko Wahyono, said, “XBB was scary in Singapore, about a month ago.”

As a result of the surge in Omicron XBB cases, the occupancy rate of hospitals in Singapore has increased by around 70 percent. People being treated for XBB who have been vaccinated once, twice, and a booster or third injection. In addition, the number of deaths has also increased.

Yunis said because it still comes from the Omicron family, the XBB subvariant also has the characteristics of a high transmission rate.

Facing the risk of transmission of the Omicron XBB variant, the government must not be indifferent, as was the case with the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 some time ago.

He then stated that the average daily cases are now consistently in the 4,000s. This figure appears due to weak surveillance levels. If the surveillance level is increased, the number of positive cases of Covid-19 could be more than 4,000 every day.

For information, the Omicron XBB Subvariant itself is a recombinant of BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 which has 14 additional mutations in the BA.2 spike protein.

Although still new, the subvariant is already widespread in Southeast Asia, causing the number of cases to double in a day in countries such as Singapore.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the XBB variant has been detected in a total of 26 countries, including the UK, Italy, and France.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Celine Gounder, said that XBB is one of the Omicron subvariants that can penetrate immunity from vaccines and previous infections. Even so, protection from vaccines is still very useful because it makes sufferers only experience mild symptoms.

If you look at cases in Indonesia, the Ministry of Health found that the fatality rate among Covid patients who died was very high (84%) in the group that had not received the third or booster dose of the vaccine.