Australian woman diagnosed with COVID-19 traveled from Iran via Bali: Australian official

File photo of the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. Photo: Coconuts Media
File photo of the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. Photo: Coconuts Media

UPDATE March 4: Bali authorities said they are coordinating with relevant authorities to trace the contacts of the Australian woman, but have yet to receive an official notification from Australia. Read on here.

An Australian woman has been diagnosed with COVID-19 following recent travel from Iran via Kuala Lumpur and Bali, the government in the Australian state of Victoria announced yesterday.

The woman is in her 30s and had returned from Tehran via Kuala Lumpur and Bali on Malindo Air flight OD 177, which landed in Melbourne on Friday, according to a media release issued by the government of the state of Victoria. She is said to be recovering in isolation at home. 

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton urged passengers who were on the same flight from Denpasar, particularly those sitting in the same row or two rows either side of the woman, to self-quarantine, hoping to minimize the threat posed by the novel coronavirus, as reported by Australian news outlet ABC. Australian officials were reportedly waiting on the flight manifest in order to contact the passengers. 

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Sutton confirmed that the woman was in the early stages of her illness when she caught the flight, and later checked herself to a hospital on Saturday. She was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 late Sunday. 

“It’s really only very close contact for a relatively prolonged period of time that puts someone at risk and it was at the very beginning of this case’s illness and so I think it’s unlikely that many people on that flight will be at risk,” the Australian official was quoted as saying. 

The Victorian government has also issued a recommendation for people who had traveled to a number of countries and become unwell to seek medical advice and be tested for COVID-19, the list of which included Indonesia. 

Indonesia today announced that two citizens have tested positive for COVID-19, making them the first people to be diagnosed in the country. Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto said that the patients are from Depok, a city in the outskirts of Jakarta, and were infected after coming into contact with a Japanese national who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in Malaysia shortly after leaving Indonesia. 

A New Zealand woman in her 60s became New Zealand’s first case of COVID-19 last Friday, following a recent travel from Iran to Auckland, on a flight that had also transited in Bali.

As of yesterday, the Bali Health Agency says it’s still looking into the flight manifest for the Emirates flight EK450 that the New Zealander was on. The woman is believed to have left the airplane for at least 90 minutes in Bali before continuing on her journey to Auckland, though this has yet to be officially confirmed by Indonesian authorities. 

Several foreign nationals who recently traveled to Bali have tested positive for the disease upon returning to their respective home countries, including a Japanese national who visited in mid-February and a Chinese man who visited Bali in late January. However, it has yet to be determined if they contracted the virus while on the Island of the Gods.

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