Health Minister: Returning haj pilgrims may spark surge in Covid-19 cases

Scene of haj pilgrimage departures. (IO/Dumaz Artadi)

Jakarta, IO – Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin worried that the return of haj pilgrims might trigger a significant increase in Covid-19 cases. He also estimates that the peak of the latest wave driven by the new variants of Omicron may happen in end of July.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation, maybe there will be an increase because some of the returning haj pilgrims were infected,” said Budi, as reported by Detik, Tuesday (19/7).

He said the government has been monitoring the spread of new Omicron subvariants, including the possibility of similar transmissions from variants BA.4 and BA.5 which are believed to be far more contagious.

“We have found cases of variant BA.2.75, which is prevalent in India, 1 in Bali and 2 in Jakarta. But we haven’t seen the pattern how fast it spreads compared to BA.4 and BA.5. Our data shows that BA.4 and BA.5 are still the most transmissible,” said Budi.