Health ministry confirms Indonesia detects 2 cases of new Covid-19 variant as country's total surge past 1.345 million

A man reacts while receiving his first dose of China's Sinovac Biotech vaccine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) during the mass vaccination program for elderly people at Indonesia's health ministry in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Tuesday (March 2, 2021). - Reuters

JAKARTA, March 2 (Xinhua): Two new cases of the more contagious Covid-19 variant B117 were detected in Indonesia, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday.

Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono said the findings were obtained from a study of 426 Covid-19 specimens in Indonesia.

"It means that we face this pandemic with a heavier level of difficulty," said Saksono.

He said the new findings were Indonesia's challenges in handling the Covid-19 pandemic and encouraging the country to develop better epidemiological researches and studies.

The more contagious virus strain, named B117, was first found in Britain in September last year.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 5,712 within one day to 1,347,026, with the death toll adding by 193 to 36,518, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

According to the ministry, 8,948 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 1,160,863.

The virus has spread to all the country's 34 provinces.

Specifically, within the past 24 hours, West Java recorded 1,654 new cases, Central Java 984, Jakarta 578, East Java 412 and East Kalimantan 310.

No more new positive cases were found in North Maluku province.

In another development, it was confirmed at least 325 doctors in Indonesia have died of Covid-19, according to the Indonesian Medical Association on Tuesday.

Of the 325 doctors, 182 were general practitioners, 138 specialists, and five residents.

The province with the highest death toll of doctors due to Covid-19 is East Java with 66 deaths, followed by Jakarta (51), Central Java (46), and West Java (37).

Meanwhile, the month with the death toll of doctors in Indonesia due to disease is January 2021 with 58 deaths, followed by December 2020 (55), and November 2020 (34). - Xinhua

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