The Jakarta Post
Indonesia reported the first possible community transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in the country on Tuesday, after a citizen with no link to certain confirmed cases or travel history to affected countries tested positive for the virus.
The 33-year-old man was Indonesia’s 27th confirmed COVID-19 patient, the Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Director-General Achmad Yurianto said as he announced eight new coronavirus cases in the country on Tuesday.
“We suspect that [Case 27] is a local transmission. We are currently tracking the source of transmission because this is not an imported case and it’s still unknown which cluster he is part of,” Achmad said.
The patient did not have a clear link to the other confirmed COVID-19 patients in the country. Case 27 did not contract the virus abroad and his exposure to coronavirus was still vague, Achmad said
“Up until this point, the source of local transmission of [Case 27] is still a question,” Achmad said, adding that authorities were currently looking to trace and identify the source of the exposure.
Achmad, however, refused to provide further details about the location of Case 27 and where the patient was currently treated.
The confirmation of eight new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday has brought the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Indonesia to 27 so far.
Five of the eight new cases were imported cases, meaning that the patients likely contracted the virus outside of Indonesia.
They included Case 22, a 36-year-old woman; Case 23, a 73-year-old woman and Case 24, a 46-year-old man — all of whom are Indonesian citizens. Two other imported cases, namely Case 25 and Case 26, were a 53-year-old woman and 46-year-old man both foreign nationals.
Achmad said that Case 20 and Case 21 — a 70-year-old and 47-year-old women — were identified as having had contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jakarta.
He stopped short when asked to specify the details of the hospitals where the patients were treated.
Bayu Krishnamurthi, who heads the National Committee for Avian Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness between 2006 and 2010, previously told The Jakarta Post in a recent interview that “community transmission” — in which a patient with no travel history to countries with the virus outbreak or no specific contact with other infected patients — “is a more serious condition” than direct transmission.
Achmad further called for the public to remain vigilant and those who were sick with flu or had a sore throat or cough to wear face masks so that they would not spread their illness to others.
“We have to put protecting our health upfront with regards to preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease,” he went on. (mrc/afr)