Health Ministry doubts Chinese coronavirus patient infected during 6-day Bali visit

Ngurah Rai International Airport. Photo: Flickr
Ngurah Rai International Airport. Photo: Flickr

Indonesia’s Health Ministry says it doubts that a Chinese coronavirus patient got infected during his visit to Bali last month.

According to a report by the Anhui provincial government, published on Weibo, a man identified as Jin flew from Wuhan to Denpasar on Jan. 22 on Lion Air flight JT-2618 and left the island for Shanghai on Jan. 28 on Garuda Indonesia flight GA-858.

The Huainan Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Anhui reported that Jin tested positive for the virus that causes the deadly disease — now named COVID-19 — on Feb. 5. Exactly where and when he contracted the disease has not been established, but Chinese authorities are urging passengers on Jin’s flights to take preventative measures against the disease immediately.

Related — Indonesia scrambling to verify report Chinese coronavirus patient visited Bali last month

In a press conference Thursday evening, Ahmad Yurianto, secretary of the Health Ministry’s Disease Prevention and Control Directorate, said the ministry has been tracing back Jin’s journey to and from Bali, and found little possibility of the patient getting infected while on Indonesian soil.

Ahmad said the ministry is basing its hypothesis on the average incubation period of the coronavirus being 10 days.

“So if we go back from Feb. 5, that would be Jan. 27 or 28,” Ahmad said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

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Ahmad added that on Jan. 28, the day of Jin’s flight to Shanghai, the ministry analyzed 14 samples obtained from travelers suspected of showing COVID-19 symptoms that day — two of which were from Indonesian nationals and the rest foreign travelers — and found them all to be negative.

“We suspect that once he arrived at the airport [in Shanghai], he got in a cab and went to all these places. That’s where he could have been infected,” he said.

That said, Ahmad did not specifically say if any of those 14 samples belonged to Jin.

Meanwhile, the Bali Health Agency says it is working to determine where Jin stayed while he was in Bali, though, like the ministry, the agency also doubts he got infected during his visit.

While its neighbors are grappling with the disease, Indonesia has yet to confirm a single COVID-19 case in the country.

Related — ‘We are experienced’: Indonesia defends ability to detect coronavirus as country remains infection-free 

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