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Jakarta Post

Batam isolates patient suspected to have coronavirus

  • Fadli¬†

    The Jakarta Post

Batam   /   Thu, January 30, 2020   /   07:15 pm
Batam isolates patient suspected to have coronavirus Port workers wear face masks that are distributed free by health officials at Panjang Port in Lampung on Jan. 29. A Batam man who works in Singapore is displaying symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the Batam Health Agency . (AFP/Perdiansyah)

Embung Fatimah General Hospital (RSUD) in Batam, Riau Islands, says one of its patients may have been infected with the novel coronavirus and is being treated in the isolation ward.

The patient, identified only as R., 40, arrived at the Batam Center International Ferry Port from Singapore on Wednesday. The thermal scanner at the port did not detect a fever.

"He arrived in Batam from Singapore and passed the thermal scanner test because he had taken fever medication," Batam Health Agency head Didi Kusumayadi said at a news conference on Thursday.

Read also: [UPDATED]: Suspected Wuhan coronavirus in Indonesia: What we know so far

Didi said the patient worked on a tugboat at Jurong Port, Singapore, where he interacted with workers from various countries.

On Jan. 20, R. came down with a fever and breathlessness. He took a home remedy, but the symptoms returned. He was then instructed by his superior to return home to Batam.

R. took the Majestic ferry from Singapore at 12 p.m. Wednesday to Batam.

Soon after arrival, R. went to RSUD at 3:30 p.m. with respiratory problems.

After consulting a lung specialist, he was suspected to have contracted the coronavirus.

"R. has all the symptoms according to Health Ministry [guidelines], although he has no record of having traveled to China. But because the coronavirus has spread to Asia, including Singapore and Malaysia, he fits the pattern [of coronavirus infection]," Didi said.

He said R. would remain in isolation and be closely monitored. The Batam Port Health Office (KKP) has also been enlisted to diagnose the man.

"We have sent a specimen from the patient to Jakarta. Perhaps by afternoon it will have arrived at the Health Ministry laboratory," Didi said.

Read also: Indonesia well prepared to handle coronavirus outbreak: WHO

He said the test results on whether the man had the coronavirus would be ready to announce in three days or by next Monday.

"We will not be the ones to [publicly] reveal the results, whether [the patient] is positive or not; that's for the director general or health minister," Didi said.

He said that besides taking fever medication, the patient could have passed the thermal scan undetected because of unruly passengers.

Batam KKP quarantine control and epidemiology surveillance department head Romer Simanungkalit said that because other people could have come into contact with the coronavirus, the office would cooperate with the Batam Police, Rempong and Galang (Barelang) officers, the immigration office and the Population and Civil Register Agency to track down passengers who were on the same ferry as R.

"We are cooperating with the police to track down passengers on board with him. There were 16 passengers -- four Indonesians and the remainder foreigners," Romer said, adding that the police had tracked down the Indonesians but had not been able to locate the foreigners.