The public was shocked by the news that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus (B.1.1.529) had entered Indonesia and was detected in four residents with Jakarta ID cards.
The information was previously submitted by the government of Bekasi regency through a written statement which has since been revoked.
The DKI Jakarta Health Office has yet to detect the omicron variant in the capital.
“At least 2,500 specimens have been examined and 40 percent of them are variants of concern and so far no Omicron variant has been found,” said Head of the DKI Health Office, Widyastuti, on Wednesday 8th December.
Widyastuti added that her team is actively conducting whole-genome sequencing (WGS) examinations every day to detect coronavirus variants.
“The WGS examination is being carried out at the Health Ministry and several WGS labs of the Research and Development Network in Jakarta,” she said.
This is confirmed by a statement from the Health Ministry.
Director of Prevention and Control of Direct Infectious Diseases at the Health Ministry Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that until now, the omicron variant has not been detected in Indonesia.
Furthermore, the Director-General of Disease Prevention and Control of the Health Ministry, Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, said that the routine genomic surveillance carried out by the Health Ministry has not detected any omicron variant. Genomic surveillance is an effort to track and monitor the coronavirus genome to prevent the spread of the virus.
Misinformation from the Bekasi Regency Government
The Head of the Bekasi District Health Office, Sri Enny Mainiarti, has confirmed that there was misinformation given out by the Bekasi district public relations team.
Previously, it was stated that there were four Jakarta residents who had been exposed to the omicron variant, based on the results of the COVID-19 test at the Farmalab Laboratory, Bekasi Regency. Sri explained that a public relations officer from the Bekasi Regency Communications, Information, and Statistics Office misquoted their statement during a meeting with the sub-district heads.
The wrong information was then published on the official website of the Bekasi Regency Government, Bekasikab.go.id, on Tuesday 7th December. It was later reported by a number of media outlets.
The Bekasi Regency Government has withdrawn this information from its website.
“No one said it was omicron,” Sri said in her official statement on Tuesday. “Yesterday I tried to explain the news about the alleged residents of Bekasi Regency, that the positive one was not a resident of Bekasi Regency, nor was it positive for omicron. That was a Jakarta resident and it happened a long time ago, on 23rd November. The quarantine has been completed at Wisma Atlet Jakarta.”