Merauke, Jubi – In light of the surge in COVID-19 cases, Merauke Health Agency head Nevil Muskita has confirmed that the Delta variant of the coronavirus, or B.1.617.2, has been detected in the regency.
The variant is known to have infected ten people in Merauke, as revealed through whole genome sequencing tests conducted by the Health Ministry’s Health Research and Development Agency (Litbangkes) in Jakarta.
Previously, 13 samples of the COVID-19 patients in Merauke were sent to the Litbangkes laboratory in late June.
“I received a report last night that of the 13 samples sent and tested, ten were detected with the Deltan strain,” Muskita told Jubi in a phone call on Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
With ten people had tested positive for the Delta variant of COVID-19, Nevil added, it could be inferred that the spike of cases in the past two months was due to Delta variant transmission of 80 percent.
“The delta variant transmission, which is very contagious, lead to more than 400 COVID-19 cases in the region,” said Muskita.
Muskita further appealed to the people, especially the people who lived near the Papua New Guinea border, to comply with health protocols such as wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding crowds, to curb the COVID-19 transmission.
“Otherwise, the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to increase because the Delta variant is highly contagious,” he said.
Meanwhile, Merauke General Hospital director Yenni Mahuze said that 89 medical workers in COVID-19 hospitals in the region were tested positive for COVID-19.
Following the surge in COVID-19 cases, the Papua provincial government will suspend all passenger travel from August 1 to 31. All flights and sea travel will be closed for a month.
“Governor Lukas Enembe asks the people of Papua to prepare for the upcoming lockdown. The Papua government will ban travel starting August 1 until 31,” governor’s spokesperson Muhammad Rifai Darus said in a written statement on Tuesday.
Reporter: Ans K
Editor: Dewi Wulandari