Bali will be sending all samples of confirmed coronavirus cases to the Health Ministry this month for complete genome sequencing, an official said, after two people in the province were found to have been infected with the South African and UK variants.

Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced the findings today, noting that one patient has been confirmed to have been infected with the B1351 variant from South Africa, while another was infected with the B117 variant from the UK. Health authorities made the discovery after analyzing some positive COVID-19 samples from Sanglah General Hospital.

The patient infected with the South African variant, Koster said, was previously treated at Sanglah but has since passed away. The patient was from Badung regency and had not undergone vaccination, he added.

Separately, Health Ministry spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said the patient with the South African variant had their samples taken on Jan. 25, before passing away on Feb. 16. Health authorities have now launched an epidemiological investigation to understand the risk of transmission from when the case was first confirmed.

“Meanwhile, the other patient confirmed to be positive with COVID-19 variant from the UK has recovered, in good health, and has been sent home. [They are] from Denpasar. This patient has now been vaccinated,” Koster said.

The chief of Bali’s health agency, Ketut Suarjaya, said that samples from all positive cases in Bali this month will be sent to the Health Ministry’s Health Research and Development Agency (Litbangkes) for complete genome sequencing.

Indonesian officials are on alert to prevent transmission of dangerous new mutations of the coronavirus, especially in light of India’s ongoing COVID-19 crisis that has been traced back to a new double mutant coronavirus strain known as B1617. All arrivals from India are currently banned in Indonesia.

As of yesterday, Indonesia has identified six strains of the coronavirus within its borders, namely D614G, B117, E484K, B1525, and B1351.


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