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Jakarta Post

Not coronavirus: North Sumatra agency denies virus killed cruise ship crew member

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Tue, February 11, 2020   /   04:58 pm
Not coronavirus: North Sumatra agency denies virus killed cruise ship crew member A member of the media looks out toward the Diamond Princess cruise ship (left) that has more than 3,000 people on board as it sits anchored in quarantine off the port of Yokohama on Feb. 4, a day after it arrived with passengers feeling ill. (AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

The North Sumatra Health Agency has dismissed rumors saying the death of a South Korean working aboard a Sunshine cruise ship in the province’s waters was caused by a disease related to the Wuhan coronavirus.

The agency’s head, Alwi Hasibuan, said the Korean citizen -- identified as Jung Seungwong, 21 – did not die from being infected by the coronavirus because he did not show any symptoms of fever or shortness of breath beforehand.

Jung also had no history of traveling to a country with confirmed cases of the coronavirus up to 14 days before his death, Alwi said.

“According to those facts, we concluded that the Sunshine crew member did not die because of the coronavirus,” Alwi said during a press briefing on Monday.

Prior to his death, Jung was sailing from Singapore to Qatar on a Panama-flagged Sunshine cruise ship. When the ship reached Aceh’s waters on Sunday, the ship sent a distress signal to the Belawan Navy Command Post, asking for a medical evacuation for the Korean crew member.

Read also: Cruise ship rejected by four nations runs out of options

A team comprising personnel from the Navy post, a water police unit and health officials from state-owned energy holding company Pertamina approached the cruise ship to collect Jung. Alwi said the team took 3.5 hours to transport Jung from the cruise ship to Pangkalan Susu Port in Langkat.

Two of Jung’s friends from the cruise ship, identified as Philippine nationals Jacky and Robles Jesus, accompanied Jung.

Alwi said Jung was declared dead upon arriving at the port, despite the team’s efforts to provide him medical assistance.

“We are still waiting for the results of a medical examination [to find the cause of death],” Alwi said. He added that Jung’s body was undergoing an autopsy at Pringadi Hospital in Medan.

Jung’s death sparked concerns it was connected to the global coronavirus outbreak. AFP reported that a total of 1,011 people had died from the new coronavirus infection as of Tuesday, with more than 42,000 others having been tested positive for the virus around the world. (syk)