‘PCR test can detect new virus variant’

THE Indonesian Medical Association’s (IDI) Covid-19 task force head, Zubairi Djoerban, has said that the new variant of the coronavirus found in the United Kingdom recently can be detected by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

“I liken the new variant of the coronavirus to a person who changes his outfit.

“The PCR test still can detect them. We should not be too worried, ” Zubairi said during a talk show hosted by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) in Jakarta on Tuesday, kompas.com reported.

He went on to say that the new strain of the virus had spread outside the UK, including the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Italy, Denmark and Iceland.

“We’ve learned that this corona B117 virus is 71% faster in transmission as compared with the previous one. Experts have said that it may be fast, but is not as deadly, ” said Zubairi.

He further said that the newly found Covid-19 variant would not hamper efforts to develop Covid-19 vaccines.

“Experts are optimistic that after vaccination, we will build immunities in certain parts (of our body).”

Zubairi said Indonesia saw an alarming positive case rate at 20%.

“We need to go all out in prevention measures and we have to run the vaccination drive.”

Separately, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Azis Syamsuddin urged the public to stay at home during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, especially with the spread of the new Covid-19 variant.

“Please, stay at home and abide by the health protocols, ” said Azis, echoing Zubairi on the characteristic of the new strain that spreads quickly.

As part of the preventive measures toward the new virus variant, Azis urged the government to trace Indonesians and foreigners who had just arrived in Indonesia.

“Especially those who travelled from the UK and Europe.”

Indonesia is closing its borders to foreign travellers from all around the world for the first two weeks of 2021. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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