The Health Ministry has ordered the Riau Islands Health Agency to observe those who were in contact with a person referred to as AA, a 61-year-old Singaporean who died in Batam after showing symptoms similar to those of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Thirty-three people are under observation, including doctors and nurses who had treated the patient.
AA died in an isolation room in Batam Indonesia Free Zone Authority Hospital (RS BP) on Feb. 22. The patient died after having been treated in the isolation room for two days.
Riau Islands Health Agency head Tjeptjep Yudiana told The Jakarta Post on Monday that he had received instructions from the Health Ministry.
“The 33 people [who were in contact with AA] have been observed and have undergone specimen tests, including the doctors, nurses, room service staff and drivers who helped him,” Tjeptjep said.
AA’s wife and two daughters, who are Singaporean nationals, are also under observation, Tjeptjep added.
“His wife and daughters are not quarantined but are still being monitored,” he said.
According to Tjeptjep, AA died when he was still a suspected coronavirus patient. His test results were negative, but Tjeptjep said there was a possibility of flawed results from the test. Therefore, rigid measures were still being taken to observe the people who were in contact with AA.
“There might be errors. We’re only human. If one of these 33 people tests positive, the others will be quarantined,” Tjeptjep said.
AA was buried in Batam in a closed funeral on Wednesday evening, four days after his death.
According to the police, the funeral took place at Sambau Cemetery in Nongsa, Batam, Riau Islands.
Batam City Health Agency head Didi Kusmajadi told The Jakarta Post on Friday that AA was buried in Batam four days after his death due to administrative problems.
Didi denied allegations that AA’s funeral took place in Batam because Singapore refused his remains.
“Singapore should not refuse their citizens, but due to a family decision, he was then buried here,” Didi said.
“There were efforts from the consul to facilitate the transfer of the remains to Singapore, but he was then buried in Batam,” Didi said.
He also said that AA’s funeral was held in accordance with official rules and procedures.
The head of Commission II of Batam City Council, Hendra Asman, said that he had recommended that the Batam administration temporarily close ferry links between Batam and Singapore until the outbreak ended.
“We will discuss the possibility of temporarily halting the ferry trips to and from Batam and Singapore as a manifestation of our seriousness in responding to the outbreak," said Hendra. (gis)