First confirmed COVID-19 patient in Banyuwangi traveled from Bali: official

Staff disinfecting a waiting area at Blambangan General Hospital. Photo: Blambangan General Hospital
Staff disinfecting a waiting area at Blambangan General Hospital. Photo: Blambangan General Hospital

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Banyuwangi, East Java is a patient with a travel history to Bali prior to her illness, officials say, with dozens more people currently being monitored for the viral disease in the regency having also arrived from the island recently.

According to a statement issued by the government of Banyuwangi, the patient is a 39-year-old woman who was working in Bali. She returned to the regency on March 4 and began to have a fever some days later. 

The patient was then taken to a nearby hospital and discharged after briefly recovering, but soon became ill again and was later treated at Blambangan General Hospital on March 22. An examination indicated she may be sick with COVID-19 and her status was changed to patient under observation, according to a report from Kompas.

The patient then underwent a swab test for the novel coronavirus, which was examined in Surabaya and Jakarta. Kompas reported that the result from Surabaya came out negative, but she was confirmed positive for COVID-19 by Jakarta. Banyuwangi Regent Abdullah Azwar Anas announced her as the regency’s first confirmed case on Sunday. 

Widji Lestariono, who heads the Banyuwangi Health Agency, said in a statement published on Monday that the patient’s condition is improving, adding that her husband, children, and parents are currently being monitored. 

Anas said that out of 196 people being monitored in Banyuwangi, 80 had come from Bali. Residents coming in from other cities are being asked to report themselves to authorities while the general public are being advised to observe physical distancing measures.

“Banyuwangi is now a red zone, because we have one positive patient. This should capture everyone’s attention by staying healthy and keeping our distances,” Anas said, as quoted by Kompas. 

On March 20, Bali officials confirmed that a resident doctor from Airlangga University in Surabaya tested positive for COVID-19, after reportedly practicing for about two weeks at Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar. 

Timelines for the two cases indicate that the patients may have been infected with the novel coronavirus while on the island. 

Bali has officially recorded 19 positive COVID-19 cases, according to data published yesterday. The tally includes two deaths of foreign nationals and four recoveries.

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