A British woman has died from coronavirus in Bali as the island’s COVID-19 Taskforce made the concerning claim that it wasn’t made aware of the tourist’s positive test result until after her death.
It was also revealed the 53-year-old was hospitalised with symptoms for a week before being confirmed positive, as questions escalate over Indonesia’s capability and effort to adequately test for the virus.
The holidaymaker, who also suffered underlying health conditions, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning at Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar.
The death is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Bali and the first death in Indonesia, which has 33 more confirmed cases.
“This patient had suffered illnesses of diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, years-long obstructive lung disease and was under supervision for suspected COVID-19,” Chair of Bali’s COVID-19 Taskforce Dewa Made Indra said.
Health officials believe she contracted the virus before arriving in Bali, passing a temperature check at the island’s airport on February 29, only to be hospitalised three days later.
After the woman had spent a week in hospital, on Tuesday she was referenced only as new “confirmed patient twenty-five” at a press conference in Jakarta by the national government, but the spokesperson did not reveal she was Bali’s first case.
Mr Indra, Bali’s coronavirus taskforce head, claims the national government – which is testing samples sent from Bali to Jakarta – failed to notify his team of the woman’s positive result straight away. About eight hours after the press conference, the woman died just before 3am Bali time.
“This morning we got an explanation that the patient who died was a patient who was included in the press conference yesterday, namely case number twenty-five,” Mr Indra said.
The national government spokesperson denies the claim, insisting Bali doctors were told of the results as they came to hand.
The woman’s husband is under observation in hospital awaiting test results, while 21 other people who’d had close contact – believed to include her children – are in self-quarantine also waiting on test results from Jakarta. Her body has already been cremated under an agreement with her family.
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