Bali authorities tracing contacts of New Zealand woman diagnosed with COVID-19 after brief transit in Denpasar

File photo of Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: Facebook
File photo of Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali. Photo: Facebook

Authorities in Bali said they have traced the people who are believed to have been in contact with New Zealand’s first COVID-19 case — a woman who traveled from Iran to Auckland via Bali. 

“We traced fellow passengers sitting behind and in front [of her]. We already know their whereabouts,” I Ketut Suarjaya, who heads the Bali Health Agency, told Kompas yesterday. 

Last Friday, New Zealand announced that a female citizen in her 60s was diagnosed with COVID-19 after arriving on Emirates flight EK450, which originated from Tehran and transited in Denpasar.

Suarjaya said a total of nine people are now being monitored, and that they are foreign tourists who are staying at three different hotels on the island. Authorities are keeping an eye on them for at least 14 days, though they are reportedly in good health so far.

“This has captured our attention, we took their samples and we have asked all of them to reduce their activities. They are all foreigners, and quarantined inside the hotels. We told them as close contacts of [someone who was infected] they should obey the WHO’s standard protocol,” Suarjaya said, referring to the World Health Organization. 

The agency is also coordinating with relevant authorities to trace another case of COVID-19, that of an Australian woman who was diagnosed upon returning to her country, following a recent travel from Iran via Kuala Lumpur and Bali. 

The woman is in her 30s, and had landed in Melbourne last Friday on Malindo Air flight OD 177. 

Suarjaya said that he has yet to receive an official notification from Australia, though they have acquired the flight manifest for OD 177 that could speed up their tracing process. 

“We have yet to receive a notification about Melbourne [passenger] … We are still waiting for the notification,” Suarjaya said. 

Indonesia on Monday announced its first coronavirus cases, amid growing reports elsewhere involving patients with a recent travel history to the archipelago. The first people to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in Indonesia, — a 64-year-old woman and her 31-year-old daughter — are making inroads towards recovery, officials say. 

As of this morning, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 90,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 globally, with most cases reported in China – where the outbreak started – with secondary outbreaks growing in South Korea, Iran and Italy.


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