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Jakarta Post

COVID-19 patients in West Nusa Tenggara break out of isolation, pray at mosques

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, April 30, 2020   /   02:12 pm
COVID-19 patients in West Nusa Tenggara break out of isolation, pray at mosques Medical workers take swab samples from a patient under surveillance at Tarakan General Hospital in North Kalimantan on April 28. The samples will be tested using the polymerase chain reaction method to determine whether the patient has contracted COVID-19. (Antara/Fachrurrozi)

Several COVID-19 patients in West Nusa Tenggara with a recent travel history to a tabligh (Islamic mass gathering) in Gowa, South Sulawesi have escaped quarantine, putting others in their vicinity at risk of contracting the disease.

A confirmed case in Central Lombok regency, identified as 50-year-old SL, broke out of isolation at a local hospital and walked home.

He snuck out of an isolation room at Praya General Hospital on Tuesday evening. His escape attempt was recorded by a hospital CCTV camera, as reported by kompas.com.

SL was later found in a field in Penujak village located nearly 10 kilometers from the hospital and taken back to the hospital by local health workers. The video depicting the encounter, as well as CCTV recording of SL’s escape has since circulated on social media.

“We finally found him in a field near the Lombok International Airport overpass,” an unidentified person recording the video said in the footage.

SL recently traveled to Gowa, where more than 8,200 people gathered for an international Islamic event last month, and has since tested positive for COVID-19. 

Central Lombok Health Agency head Omdah confirmed the authenticity of the video. 

“Based on his statement, he walked westward passing through the Central Lombok Council building,” said Omdah.

He went on to say that SL had stopped at a mosque in Batujai village.

“The patient said he performed subuh [dawn prayer] at Wage Mosque and later proceeded toward Panujak village, where he was found by health workers in the morning,” Omdah said.

Read also: Outbreak breakout: COVID-19 patient flees isolation ward in Jakarta

Another incident occurred in the provincial capital of Mataram, where a COVID-19 patient placed under isolation went out and participated in congregational tarawih (evening Ramadan prayers) at a local mosque.

A team from a community health center (Puskesmas) in Taliwang was deployed to conduct contact tracing on the patient, a 57-year-old man identified as S.  

“The patient was not at home when we visited him,” Cakranegara district head Erwan said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.

He added that S was supposed to self-isolate upon returning from Gowa, where he attended an Islamic event last month.

S, who had previously tested positive for COVID-19, did not immediately report the test result to health authorities. The patient initially resisted being placed under isolation, but eventually relented.

The patient has since been taken to Mataram General Hospital for quarantine, Erwan said.

West Nusa Tenggara has recorded 221 confirmed cases and four deaths linked to the disease as of Wednesday. Provincial capital Mataram is the outbreak epicenter in the region, with 77 COVID-19 cases and two deaths due to the disease. (rfa)