A Singaporean man suspected of having COVID-19 has died in the Indonesian city of Batam, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
The 66-year-old man, only identified by his initials AA, had fever and shortness of breath – symptoms consistent with the disease – but test results came back negative, the report added, citing the Batam Health Agency. He died Saturday.
The man died of “another illness,” the report quoted an agency spokesperson as saying. Despite growing evidence otherwise, Indonesia maintains that the archipelago of 260 million people remains virus-free.
The man had a fever when he went to a local private hospital on Feb. 20, according to a hospital representative cited in the report. Due to the symptoms he had, the man was transferred to another hospital that was designated for COVID-19 related treatments.
“He had just returned from Singapore, and he had a fever. We thought that he might have the coronavirus infection, although we did not know for sure. To mitigate the risks, we sent him to BP Batam Hospital, which is the referral hospital for coronavirus,” a Awal Bros Hospital rep told the paper.
Samples taken from the man sent to the Indonesian Health Ministry’s laboratory on Friday reportedly came back negative for COVID-19 after the man died, according to Batam Port Health Office head Achmad Farchanny.
Indonesia has not confirmed any incidents of the virus now spreading around the world, prompting skepticism from the global community on whether the country is taking sufficient measures to identify and contain its spread. Earlier this week, a health official also falsely asserted that those who test positive for the virus SARS-CoV-2 were not infected with COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus which causes COVID-19, as the disease is called by the World Health Organization.
Singapore has 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections as of Thursday morning, with more than 60 patients recovered and discharged. Around 30 are still hospitalized, including seven in critical condition.
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