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Jakarta Post

Five COVID-19 suspects still isolated, waiting for conditions to improve: Ministry

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, March 7, 2020   /   10:14 am
Five COVID-19 suspects still isolated, waiting for conditions to improve: Ministry A security officer walks in front of the isolation room of the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI) in North Jakarta on Jan. 27. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Health authorities are still observing five individuals suspected of having been infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus after they had contact with the country’s first two confirmed cases.

The five individuals were in close contact with the first two confirmed patients, identified only as Case 1 and Case 2. They had attended the same dance event as Case 1 in mid-February in Jakarta.

Case 1 contracted the virus from a Japanese woman who tested positive in Malaysia in late February.

The Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Directorate general secretary Achmad Yurianto said his office was waiting for the patients’ conditions to improve before discharging them from the hospital. The five patients are being treated in isolation at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital in North Jakarta.

“We will wait until their physical condition improves, since some of them are still suffering from fever,” said Yurianto, who also serves as the spokesperson for coronavirus management, on Friday.

Read also: 70 medical workers having contact with COVID-19 patients in Depok sent home for self-quarantine

He explained patients in other countries, such as Vietnam, had to undergo tests seven times during the observation period. The patients even tested positive for COVID-19 during an eighth test, which was followed by intensive treatment from medical personnel.

“We have to be really careful with these cases. We shouldn’t act rashly and discharge them early because they can create a new sub-cluster if they eventually test positive,” Yurianto said. 

During an earlier press briefing, Yurianto said the number of individuals with contact with Case 1 suspected of having the coronavirus was four. Later, he mentioned that seven were suspected, two of whom had tested positive while the other five were still under observation.

The Health Ministry previously confirmed two new COVID-19 cases on Friday. The two patients, identified only as Case 3 and Case 4, were identified following the ministry’s effort to trace people who had encountered Case 1 and 2.

Health officials later found seven people with contact with Case 1. They were taken to Sulianti Saroso Hospital because they showed physical symptoms associated with influenza, such as coughing and mild fever. Of the seven people, two tested positive for COVID-19.

The government plans to continue tracing people suspected of having contact with Case 1 or 2 to prevent the emergence new subclusters. (dpk)