Ticking time bomb on Australia’s doorstep: Indonesia has tested just 104 people for the coronavirus – as government tells 270million-strong population to pray and hope God will protect them
- World’s fourth most populated country yet to report any confirmed cases
- Minister defends handling of the outbreak with just 104 Indonesians tested
- 270 million Indonesians told to pray nation will remain conronavirus free
Indonesia’s health minister has urged the country’s people to pray that they continue to remain coronavirus-free as the nation comes in for heavy criticism for not doing enough to combat the disease.
Just 104 Indonesians have been tested out of a population of 270 million, despite neighbouring countries including Australia reporting multiple cases.
Indonesia is yet to report a single confirmed case of the virus, which has spread across the globe in recent weeks with a death toll of more than 1700.
However, that clean bill of health may change within days following reports two men may have contracted the virus.
It was an emotional reunion for these women at Indonesian’s Juanda International airport on Saturday after a student (wearing face mask) spent time in quarantine following the outbreak
Indonesian health minister Terawan Agus Putranto has since defended the country’s handling of the outbreak and insists they remain on high alert with steps put in place to detect the coronavirus.
‘We say prayers together that no coronavirus enters,’ he told reporters on Monday.
‘We continue to pray that God gives protection to our country.’
When quizzed about why so few tests had been conducted in the fourth most-populated country in the world, Putranto cited ‘efficiency in budgeting’.
‘We don’t test everybody. You guys [reporters at the press conference] who are now wearing masks, would you like to be tested? We have to see someone’s travel advisory. We have to be rational and efficient,’ he said.
Worshippers at the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta pray their country remains free of the virus
The new coronavirus has killed at least 1,775 people and infected more than 71,440 globally
Like Australia, Indonesia has also shut down all flights to and from mainland China in response to virus fears and is conducting surveillance at 135 entry points across the country.
It comes after a US study by Harvard University public health researchers found Indonesia should be impacted by the coronavirus and could have undetected cases, citing its extensive air links to China and the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
More than two million people visit Indonesia from China each year.
Despite no confirmed cases, Indonesia has steps in place to monitor and watch for signs of the virus. Pictured are health workers taking part in a simulation exercise in Denpasar
Nearly 1,800 people across the world have now died from the killer coronavirus, or COVID-19
The study’s co-author described the possibility of Indonesia being free from the virus as ‘statistically improbable’.
‘If Indonesia was equally sensitive in detecting infected travellers as the high capacity countries [such as Singapore] in our statistical sample, then given the travel volume from Wuhan [to Indonesia], there is less than a 2.5 per cent chance they would have failed to detect any cases,’ Harvard Professor Marc Lipsitch told Fairfax.
‘At this stage focusing on travellers [who might be infected] is probably not the top priority. If there are cases in the country, it’s more important they find them and stop them transmitting.’
More than 71,000 have caught the virus, including 454 on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan
Putranto slammed the study’s findings and described the report as ‘insulting’ for Indonesia.
‘The bottom line is that we’re following international standards,’ he told reporters last week.
‘We’re not hiding anything.’
Indonesian health minister Terawan Agus Putranto (pictured) has defended his country’s handling of the outbreak. The island nation is yet to report any confirmed cases
AUSTRALIANS WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
NEW SOUTH WALES: 4
- Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China are confirmed to have contracted the disease.
- Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.
- They are being treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital and are in stable condition.
- A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.
- The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.
- She is being treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital.
- A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.
- The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.
- He is now in quarantined isolation at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne’s east.
- A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.
- He became unwell on January 23 – two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
- The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre. He was assessed as being well enough to stay at home.
- A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.
- She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.
- She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
- A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus
- Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national wass diagnosed with the virus.
- He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.
- A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.
- An eight-year-old boy has been diagnosed coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from
- The case was found in a 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast
- A 37-year-old woman has been diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 2
- A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.
- Two Australians have been confirmed as having the virus in Wuhan itself. Australia has raised the travel alert level to ‘do not travel’ for the city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – and for the entire Hubei province.
- Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says unless people have contact with someone who is unwell and has come from that part of China, there is no need for current concern.
- As of February 15, 15 Australians are among 219 confirmed cases of the coronavirus contracted on board Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama.