Indonesia confirms new cases, calls for calm

first_imgThe government has called for calm, saying that most cases of the disease are mild, including Case 1 and Case 2.The two patients — a 64-year-old and her 31-year-old daughter — are currently undergoing treatment in isolation at Sulianti Suroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI Sulianti Suroso) and are reportedly in a stable condition.“They are generally in a good condition. […] As of today, alhamdulillah [praise God], they no longer have a fever,” RSPI president director Mohammad Syahril said, adding that the patients’ shortness of breath and coughing had also improved.“Both can do other activities, they can eat by themselves without being fed, they can change their clothes and go to the bathroom without any assistance from their family or nurses.”The government plans to continue tracing people suspected of having had contact with Cases 1 and 2, now classified as a single cluster, in order to prevent the emergence of new subclusters.Yurianto said the ministry would observe the people identified in the first cluster. He explained that even though not all had complained of having any symptoms related to COVID-19, the ministry would continue to observe them to ensure transmission had not occurred.Indonesia had tested 227 samples as of Thursday evening, two of which were found to be positive. Health officials are awaiting the results of 13 samples, with their providers being kept in isolation at various hospitals, while the rest came out negative.At least five suspected coronavirus patients have died, although four had been confirmed to be negative for the disease.Bayu Krisnamurthi, who led the National Committee for Avian Flu Control and Pandemic Preparedness between 2006 and 2010, said the situation was still under control, as the new cases were linked to the first two cases.“It would be more serious if a community transmission occurred, meaning that a person was infected who had not had any contact with the confirmed coronavirus patients and did not have any travel history to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks,” he said.However, Syahrizal Syarief, an epidemiology expert at the University of Indonesia, said the government was not doing enough to contain the contagion.Syarief, who is also a member of a special expert team established by the government to handle its Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) containment efforts in 2003, argued there were 71 medical workers at Mitra Keluarga Hospital who might have also had close contact with the first two cases.Cases 1 and 2 visited Mitra Keluarga Hospital on Feb. 27, where they were diagnosed with bronchitis.“From the start, I have said that the 71 people who had a contact history with the Cases 1 and 2 must be quarantined and be tested even if they haven’t shown any symptoms because they were obviously at risk [of infection],” he said.Also on Friday, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo released a video about the virus in which he gave tips on how to avoid infection. The video was part of the government’s efforts to calm the public, as panic buying begins to take hold.The President said the biggest enemy was not the virus, but fear triggered by false information.The government has stepped up its efforts to contain the virus by assigning labs under the Health Ministry to conduct throat swab tests and expand the criteria for people who should be tested for the disease.On Thursday, the government announced new travel restrictions for people with a history of travel to coronavirus-hit regions in Iran, South Korea and Italy in the wake of a significant surge in COVID-19 cases globally. Mainland China was the first country to face a travel ban.According to the John Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, 100,330 people had been infected in at least 83 countries as of Friday, with 80,556 confirmed cases and 3,042 deaths recorded in China. Outside mainland China, there were 19,774 confirmed cases with 366 deaths, with the majority of casualties recorded in Italy with 148 deaths, followed by Iran with 124.Topics : “Of the seven, two tested positive for COVID-19, who we will call Case 3 and Case 4,” he added.Yurianto, who also serves as the government’s spokesperson for its handling of the virus outbreak, declined to reveal the genders of the two new confirmed cases. However, he explained that the two new patients were 32 and 34 years old.“Their body temperatures are around 37 to 37.6 degrees Celsius. They suffer from coughing and sniffles, but show no signs of shortness of breath. We hope their condition will improve after our intervention,” Yurianto said.He also declined to identify the location where the patients were possibly infected, stating only that: “One thing is for sure, they don’t live in the same house.” The Health Ministry announced on Friday that two new COVID-19 cases linked to the first two confirmed cases had been recorded, prompting calls for the government to work faster to trace those who have had contact with the infected patients to prevent a mass contagion.The new cases were detected after the ministry traced some 20 people who had been in contact with a woman and her mother — identified as Case 1 and Case 2 — who contracted the virus after the daughter visited a Jakarta restaurant and took part in a dance event that was also attended by an infected Japanese tourist.“We found seven suspected carriers. We took them to the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital for observation and isolation because they showed physical symptoms associated with influenza, such as coughing and a mild fever,” the ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Directorate General secretary, Achmad Yurianto, said on Friday.last_img read more