People watch the sunset on Seminyak beach in Bali, Indonesia August 17, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Files

‘Bali remains safe’, says provincial health agency after Chinese tourist tested positive for COVID-19

DENPASAR, Bali: A traveller who was tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to China from Bali is unlikely to have contracted the virus in Indonesia, said Bali’s health authority on Thursday (Feb 13).

"Theoretically, the tourist was not exposed to the virus in Bali since he left on Jan 28,” Head of Bali Provincial Health Agency Ketut Suarjaya was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

He noted that the traveller was tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb 5 in China, eight days after his departure from Bali.

The incubation period of the virus is normally three to seven days, he said.

"Even if he brought the virus here (to Bali), and it was incubated, there should have been a case reported here. But this is the 16th day, and no one has been infected. Bali remains safe," Mr Suarjaya added.

"The standard operating procedure has been completed. Medical devices, as well as the staff, are all ready. Thus, there is no need to worry even if it happens. Yet, we are all hoping it does not."

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Mr Suarjaya was also quoted as saying by TribunNews portal on Thursday that officials have retraced the patient's footsteps, including the hotel he was staying in the Nusa Dua area in the southern side of the island. 

He also said 20 people have been placed under observation in hospitals in Bali, 14 of whom have tested negative.

Last week, Chinese Anhui provincial authorities reportedly announced on social media that the patient had flown on Lion Air from Wuhan – the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak – to Bali on Jan 22.

The patient stayed in Bali for about a week before flying on Garuda Indonesia from Bali to Shanghai on Jan 28.,f_auto/image/12159292/16x9/991/557/ab486044128522874961b695f20bdb8d/nB/file-photo--the-logo-of-garuda-indonesia-is-pictured-on-an-airbus-a330-aircraft-parked-at-the-aircraft-builder-s-headquarters-of-airbus-in-colomiers-3.jpg
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Garuda Indonesia is pictured on an Airbus A330 aircraft parked at the aircraft builder's headquarters of Airbus in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

On Thursday, Garuda said it has grounded a plane that is said to have carried the patient for further inspection and disinfection.

Lion Air said the passenger showed no symptoms while travelling from Wuhan to Bali.

It added that the passenger was checked thoroughly at Bali’s airport upon arrival. All 188 passengers and 11 crew members were also screened, Lion Air said.

As of Friday, COVID-19 has killed almost 1,400 people and infected over 63,000 people around the world.

Indonesia has no reported case of infection.

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