15 Indonesian cruise ship crew members returning from US, Italy test positive for coronavirus: governor

Bali Governor Wayan Koster at a live press conference on April 8, 2020. Photo: Bali Provincial Government
Bali Governor Wayan Koster at a live press conference on April 8, 2020. Photo: Bali Provincial Government

Fifteen Indonesian cruise ship crew members who recently returned to Bali from abroad are among those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the province, as officials prepare for the return of thousands more in the coming weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At a live press conference yesterday, Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced that a majority of the crew members who tested positive had returned from the United States and Italy, both of which currently top the list of countries with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 432,000 and 139,000 cases, respectively. 

“I have to let it be known that there is a tendency for the positive patients who are Bali residents who have worked abroad or are migrant workers to continue rising. Most of them had worked in the United States or Italy,” Koster said. 

As of yesterday afternoon, Bali has 49 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 215 patients under observation. 

Koster said more than 6,100 Indonesian crew members have returned to Bali between March 29 and April 7, and the government is expecting the number to increase to around 20,000 in the coming days and weeks. 

All of them are subject to rapid tests upon arrival, with those testing negative expected to self-quarantine at their own homes while being monitored by officials from their desa adat, or traditional villages. 

Among those who recently arrived are 300 Indonesian crew members from the MSC Splendida cruise ship, who had flown in from Genoa, Italy. They reportedly tested negative after undergoing rapid tests ⁠— which have been known to produce false negatives ⁠— that were conducted at the airport. They were then advised to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

The provincial government announced that several quarantine facilities consisting of 1,012 beds in total are ready to host Indonesian migrant workers or crew members who have to undergo stricter quarantine. They did not provide specifics as to how many have been used so far.

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