Headlines

H1N1 cases hit 20 in
one week

The Health Ministry revealed on Friday that the number of people positively infected by the H1N1 flu virus in Indonesia, has reached a total of 20, a rise of 12 from eight cases earlier this week.

The ministry's director general for disease control and environmental health, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, told The Jakarta Post Friday night that Jakarta and Bali had 20 cases.

He said there were new suspected cases in Medan, and Makassar, South Sulawesi, but added that these cases were unconfirmed.

With new suspect cases reported in areas outside Jakarta and Bali, there are concerns government may downplay possible or suspect cases in other regions ahead of the July 8 presidential election.

But, Tjandra denied this.

"It is not true that positive cases have been found in many regions; though suspect cases may have been. But, even an ordinary fever can be named a suspect case," Tjandra said.

"The only confirmed cases are in Jakarta and Bali, which amount to 20 cases. The government is not trying to cover up," he added.

In Medan, the number of suspected patients currently undergoing treatment at Adam Malik Hospital, reached 11 people by Friday.

Adam Malik Hospital director Azwan Lubis said that the six people came on own initiative to the hospital on Thursday night.

"Two of the patients show symptoms of fever at 38 Celsius, while the rest are only coughing," Azwan said.

"They are part of a group of 35 people just returning from holiday in Thailand and Malaysia. They were in contact with infected patients while onboard an airplane."

In Makassar, eight Lion Air crew including pilot, copilot, technician and flight attendants, suspected of having been in contact with the H1N1 virus are in isolation rooms at Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital.

According to the hospital's spokesman Khalid Saleh they came to the hospital voluntarily for checkups with strange symptoms after flying from Jayapura, Papua.

"They are worried about their health because during the flight they made contact with a passenger suspected of having contracted the virus after visiting Thailand, that is why when they arrived in Makassar," said Khalid. He acknowledged when they arrived at the hospital their conditions were stable and did not show any symptoms of H1N1 infection even though two of them were having a cold at that time.

Lion Air spokesman Edward Sirait said they sent the crews to the hospital to check on their condition.

"They have previously been checked at Sentani Airport's health facility but its laboratory facility is insufficient so we sent them for a re-check in Makassar," he said. Seven of 16 Indonesian students suspected of contact with the A type influenza in Singapore were released from hospital after negative testing.

Adianto P. Simamora from Jakarta and Andi Hajramurni from Makassar contributed to the article.

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