Jakarta reports first two Omicron deaths

The country has had its first two deaths from the Omicron variant, while overall coronavirus cases have remained under control since September when it managed to flatten its pandemic curve.

The two patients who died had comorbidities, the health ministry’s spokesman Dr Siti Nadia Tarmizi said in a statement on Saturday.

One was a local transmission case who died in hospital in Ciputat, just outside Jakarta. The other was a traveller who returned from overseas and died in a Jakarta hospital, said the statement.

Dr Nadia told The Straits Times separately: “One was fully vaccinated and the other had not been vaccinated.”

The spread of the Omicron variant in Indonesia has continued to intensify since the first case was confirmed on Dec 16. This was soon followed by the first reported case of community transmission on Dec 28 – an asymptomatic man from Medan who visited Jakarta.

On Jan 11, the government said Omicron cases across Indonesia tripled in a week, with about 90% imported.

President Joko Widodo and Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin have repeatedly appealed to Indonesians to suspend their overseas leisure trips.

Most of the Omicron cases were Indonesian nationals and those who have been fully vaccinated, according to the health ministry.

The bulk of the travellers who tested positive for Omicron had returned from Turkey, with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also prominent destinations.

The total cases in Indonesia, including 1,161 Omicron infections, now stand at over 4.2 million, with more than 144,000 deaths. — The Straits Times/ANN

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