No spike in suspected COVID-19 cases in Bali after visit of Japanese man who tested positive: Indonesian Health Ministry

No spike in suspected COVID-19 cases in Bali after visit of Japanese man who tested positive: Indonesian Health Ministry

The deadly new coronavirus has battered Indonesia's tourism and aviation sectors
The deadly new coronavirus has battered Indonesia's tourism and aviation sectors. (Photo: AFP/Sonny Tunbelaka)

JAKARTA: There has been no increase in suspected COVID-19 cases in Bali, said the Indonesian Health Ministry on Tuesday (Feb 25).

This came after growing concern that a Japanese man was said to have tested positive for the virus upon his return from Indonesia.

In a press conference, the ministry said that the man's whereabouts in Bali were tracked after reports were received that he was there with his family from Feb 15 to Feb 19. 

He later tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb 22 after returning to Tokyo.

The authorities immediately tracked down his hotel in Bali, said the Health Ministry’s secretary of the directorate-general in-charge of disease and prevention control Achmad Yurianto.

“The current data since his arrival (in Bali) shows that there has been no (upward) fluctuation in influenza-like illnesses,” Mr Yurianto said.

“Also based on our monitoring of hospitals, which are in the area where we suspect they were staying, we have not found any new cases,” he added.

READ: ‘Bali remains safe’, says provincial health agency after Chinese tourist tested positive for COVID-19

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Prior to his holiday in Indonesia, the 60-year-old Tokyo resident felt unwell on Feb 12 and visited a doctor.

But he was only given medication, Mr Yurianto claimed, and continued working on Feb 13.

Indonesia airport
A woman wearing a facemask walks past screens showing thermal imaging scans of arriving passengers at Sukarno-Hatta international airport on Jan 24, 2020, as airports across the region stay alert in response to a deadly coronavirus. (Photo: AFP/Adek Berry) 

He stayed at home on Feb 14, and departed for Bali the following day.

Indonesian authorities have asked their Japanese counterparts about the health condition of the man’s family, said Mr Yurianto, adding that none of his family members are sick.

The patients's condition is said to be improving.

The Indonesian government is still doing contact tracing and has spoken to the employes at the hotel where the man stayed at, he said. None have shown any symptoms of the illness.

READ: Indonesia refuses entry to 118 foreigners amid COVID-19 outbreak

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“Of course because we understand the disease is contagious ... The hotel was examined and we have educated the employees on what will happen if they contract the disease and we have checked them," Mr Yurianto said.

He explained that the process is still ongoing and they would need to monitor the situation for the next 14 days.

Indonesia coronavirus
An official wearing a protective mask to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, checks the temperature of passenger at the Batam International port in Batam, Riau island on Jan 28, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Sei Ratifa)

“We tell the (local hospital) employees if there is someone who is thought to be sick at that time, who have stayed or worked at this hotel, there is the chance of a transmission … There is an incubation period, so that’s why the next 14 days, please if you or someone has certain symptoms, report immediately to the public health office,” the official added.

EVACUATION PLAN FOR THOSE ABOARD DIAMOND PRINCESS STILL BEING WORKED OUT

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government is still coordinating with the Japanese government to return 69 of its citizens on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship which has docked in Yokohama for weeks.

A total of 78 Indonesians worked on the cruise ship but nine have been tested positive for COVID-19 and are now hospitalised in Japan.

Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama Port
Masked passengers look on from on board the coronavirus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama Port, south of Tokyo, Japan, February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The remaining 69 will most likely be evacuated by national carrier Garuda but details of the process are still being discussed.

“We are still discussing the technical aspects … In principle, we will evacuate them.”

READ: Indonesia to evacuate citizens working onboard Diamond Princess, World Dream cruise ships: Health Ministry

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The Indonesians crew would be quarantined for 28 days once they have returned to Indonesia, Mr Yurianto said.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship has almost 700 confirmed COVID-19 cases. So far, there has been no reported case of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

Source: CNA/ks

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