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Jakarta Post

Health officials trace contacts of Japanese COVID-19 patient in Bali

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Wed, February 26, 2020   /   08:37 am
Health officials trace contacts of Japanese COVID-19 patient in Bali Tourists walk to the pick-up point at Sanur Beach, Denpasar after their return from Nusa Penida Island in Bali on Monday. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

Health authorities in Bali are gathering information on a Japanese citizen who visited Indonesia shortly before he tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and closely monitoring every person who had direct contact with the Japanese man.

“We have started contact tracing. We found the hotel he stayed at during his visit to Bali,” Bali Health Agency head Ketut Suarjaya told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK previously reported that the Tokyo metropolitan government announced on Saturday that the man, a Tokyo resident in his 60s working as a staff member of a senior care facility, had been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Read also: Japanese man tests positive for COVID-19 after Indonesia visit: Report

The man visited a health care institution on Feb. 12 after he developed “cold-like symptoms”, but returned home the same day because he was not diagnosed with pneumonia. He returned to work at the senior home on Feb. 13 but spent Feb. 14 at home.

He had reportedly visited Indonesia from Feb. 15 and was hospitalized upon his return to Japan on Feb. 19 with severe difficulty breathing, and was said to be in “serious condition.” The NHK did not specify the man’s destination in Indonesia.

Separately, the Tokyo Novel Coronavirus Infectious Disease Control Center of the Tokyo metropolitan government’s website confirmed that a Tokyo resident in his 60s had tested positive for the disease and that his symptoms appeared on Feb. 12.

“He stayed in one hotel during his holiday,” Suarjaya said but refused to mention the name of the hotel.

After the report came to the nation’s attention, a special team comprising officials from the Bali Health Agency and Denpasar Port Health Authority traced the places visited by the Japanese man during his time in Bali. The team also contacted the travel agency handling the man’s travels.

“We are conducting epidemiology surveillance and health examinations on anyone who had direct contact with him in Bali,” said Suarjaya.

The medical team will interview and physically check people who had direct contact with the Japanese tourist, including hotel and travel agency staff. Furthermore, staff that served the tourist in his room would be given special attention, the agency head said.

He added that no one who encountered the Japanese patient had shown any symptoms so far, saying all of them were in good condition.

Given the 14-day incubation period of the coronavirus, the team will monitor these people until March 4, 14 days after the Japanese man left Bali on Feb. 19. “If any of them show any symptoms, we will observe them at the hospital.”

He added that a coronavirus test would be carried out on people who had direct contact with the Japanese tourist if necessary.

“We may take samples from some people to be checked in the laboratory,” Suarjaya went on to say. “So far we’ve received no complaints from any hotel staff. I hope there will be none.”

The hotel says it has disinfected the hotel rooms in which the Japanese family stayed, as well as rooms located next to them.

Read also: ‘It is not COVID-19’: Indonesian health official mixes up disease and virus

The case is the second in which a patient has tested positive for COVID-19 following a visit to Indonesia. The first, a Chinese man identified as Jin, tested positive for the disease earlier this month, eight days after returning from Bali.

Such cases have raised concerns about the country’s ability to detect carriers of the deadly virus.

As of Tuesday, 28 people from Bali had been observed for showing symptoms of COVID-19. However, they tested negative.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indonesia to date. (kuk)