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Jakarta Post

We're tracing contacts of COVID-19 patient in Bali: Health Ministry

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya, Ni Komang Erviani and Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta and Denpasar   /   Thu, February 13, 2020   /   04:19 pm
We're tracing contacts of COVID-19 patient in Bali: Health Ministry Health officials check the body temperature of a foreign tourist arriving from Bali and heading to the tourist island of Gili Trawangan at Bangsal Port in Pemenang, Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara, on Wednesday. (AFP/Moh El Sasaky )

The Indonesian Health Ministry is gathering information on a Chinese national who flew to Bali from Wuhan late last month and has tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after returning to China.

The Health Ministry’s disease control and environmental health director general, Anung Sugihantono, said the ministry had contacted Chinese authorities and begun tracing the travel path of the patient, identified as Jin, in Bali.

“Yes, we have," Anung said in response to The Jakarta Post's question. We are doing the contact tracing [of Jin],” Anung said on Thursday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Anung had dismissed the information as likely "a rumor".

The case has come to the nation’s attention after the Anhui administration announced via Weibo on Feb. 6 that the Huainan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Feb. 5 that a confirmed patient, identified only as Jin, had flown on Lion Air flight JT2618 from Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak – to Bali on Jan. 22. The patient stayed on the island for about a week before boarding Garuda Indonesia flight GA858 from Bali to Shanghai on Jan. 28.

Read also: Lion Air confirms passenger named 'Jin' among 188 on Wuhan-Bali flight

Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun said on Thursday that authorities had gathered information on the patient from websites and Weibo.

“Since last night we have searched on the website and Weibo. This morning we're still communicating with the local administration [in China]. We will report the results to the Foreign Ministry. We will try to provide the fastest and best [information],” Djauhari told the Post.

Bali Health Agency head Ketut Suarjaya said the agency had also begun to investigate Jin’s travel history in Bali.

“We are now conducting contact tracing to look for every location Jin visited in Bali,” Suarjaya said.

Suarjaya said that Jin had been in Bali for six days, from Jan. 22 to 28. He tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Feb. 5, eight days after leaving Bali.

“The incubation period of the virus is around three to seven days. The maximum incubation period is 14 days. In Bali, there are no positive coronavirus cases yet,” he added.

Since the outbreak of the virus, Sanglah hospital in Bali has treated 32 patients who had shown symptoms of the disease; all 30 tests conducted so far have come back negative.

“Two patients are currently being observed in Sanglah hospital. The laboratory testing hasn't finished yet," Suarjaya said.

Read also: Tourist tests positive for coronavirus eight days after return from Bali: Chinese authorities

Contacted separately, Lucky Tjahjono, head of the Denpasar Port Health Agency, expressed doubt that Jin had contracted the virus while he was in Bali.

“Based on the incubation period calculation and his travel history, we cannot be certain that the virus infection happened in Bali. He left Bali for Shanghai on Jan. 28, after that, the virus symptoms showed and the CDC confirmed that he was coronavirus positive on Feb. 5, eight days after leaving Bali,” Lucky said.

“When he left Bali, he was in good condition; there was no health complaint. If there had been any complaint [from Jin] the airlines [that he used] should have reported it to us," he added.

Lucky believed it was most likely that Jin had been infected in Shanghai or mainland China after leaving Bali.

“Most importantly, we haven't recorded any confirmed coronavirus case in Bali. That means, there is no source of transmission here," he said.