Some 70 medical workers at Mitra Keluarga Hospital in Depok, West Java, have been sent home for self-quarantine after they were revealed to have had contacts with two patients who were confirmed on Monday as Indonesia’s first coronavirus cases during their previous treatment.
Head of Depok Information and Communications Agency Sidik Mulyono said the medical workers were not sent home because they had tested positive for the coronavirus, but only as a precautionary measure since they had interacted with the two patients — a 31-year-old woman and her 64-year-old mother — when they visited the hospital last week.
“The Mitra Keluarga Hospital has decided to send them home and we are currently monitoring them,” Sidik told journalists on Monday.
Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris Abdul Shomad said the two patients had previously visited Mitra Keluarga Hospital in the city on Feb. 27, where they were suspected of suffering from bronchitis.
They left the hospital on Feb. 29 as they were referred to the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI Sulianti Suroso) in Jakarta, where they later tested positive for COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — and had been treated in the RSPI’s isolation ward since Sunday.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced the country’s first confirmed cases earlier on Monday after Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto reported about the tests following the government’s efforts to trace the individuals who had been in contact with a female Japanese citizen who tested positive for COVID-19 in Malaysia after visiting Indonesia in early February.
Terawan said the 31-year-old patient, who worked as a dance coach, met and danced together with the Japanese woman — who was the patient’s friend — on Feb. 14 in a club in Jakarta.
She started complaining about coughing on Feb. 16 and grew concerned about contracting the virus herself after her Japanese friend told her via a phone call on Feb. 28 that the latter had been hospitalized in Malaysia after testing positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 27.
“[The patients] are currently under isolation treatment and they will be reexamined after 14 days there,” Terawan said on Monday.
Prior to the announcement, Indonesia had claimed zero confirmed cases on its soil for almost two months since the virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December.
The global death toll from COVID-19 soared pass 3,000 on Monday as the virus has now infected more than 89,000 people and spread to more than 60 countries, AFP reported.