Indonesia’s first COVID-19 death was a British woman in Bali: officials

Microscopic image of the virus that causes COVID-19 <i> Photo: NIAID-RML</i>
Microscopic image of the virus that causes COVID-19 Photo: NIAID-RML

The 53-year-old woman who died from the novel coronavirus in Indonesia was a British patient being treated at the Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar, local officials confirmed today.

“Yes, this morning at 2.45am I received information from Sanglah that one patient being observed for COVID-19 passed away. She was a 53-year-old foreign national,” said Dewa Made Indra, regional secretary for Bali province, as quoted by Detik.

Local news outlet Bali Post said the patient, who is identified as Case 25 in Indonesia, is a British national. Indra said the patient was cremated in Mumbul Crematorium in Nusa Dua earlier today. She reportedly entered the country on Feb. 29 via Ngurah Rai International Airport and had passed her temperature check upon arrival. She contracted a fever on March 3 and was treated at an undisclosed hospital until March 9, and was moved to Sanglah General Hospital because she wasn’t getting better.

John Nickell, a spokesperson from the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), has confirmed that Case 25 is a British national. 

“We are supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Indonesia and are in contact with local authorities. Our sympathies and thoughts are with her family at this difficult time,” Nickell told Coconuts Bali via WhatsApp.

Officials in Bali said they have traced Case 25’s activities since she arrived in Bali and determined that she had 21 close contacts ⁠— which includes her husband ⁠— whose samples have been taken for further testing and are currently self-quarantined in their respective homes.  

“They are all in good health, and have been examined by our doctors at the Health Agency. We are still waiting for lab results from Jakarta,” Indra said, as quoted by Bali Post.

According to Indra, the positive result for COVID-19 had only been confirmed after she died, as she was still under observation for being a suspected case.

Indra’s assertion is seemingly at odds with the central government’s announcement yesterday putting Case 25 among the latest batch of confirmed cases in Indonesia. She was said to have been infected with the coronavirus abroad before coming to Indonesia.

Achmad Yurianto, Indonesia’s spokesperson for COVID-19 related matters, said earlier today that Case 25 had pre-existing illnesses, namely diabetes, hypertension, and obstructive pulmonary disease.

This article has been updated to include details about the deceased COVID-19 patient’s activities in Bali.

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