Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Indonesian military isolates entire village over fears 1,200 residents may have coronavirus

After eight positive COVID-19 tests in Serokadan hamlet in Abuan village, Central Bali earlier this week, the government's national coronavirus task force moved in with the military to lockdown the area's 1200 residents and begin widespread testing.

Of the 1200 blood samples initially taken through 'rapid testing,' more than 400 returned 'reactive' results, which means they have not officially tested positive but are suspected to have the deadly virus.

'We have followed up the rapid test results by taking swab samples for further PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests to get accurate results on whether they are positive for COVID-19 or not,' the Bali provincial COVID 19 task force executive chairman, Dewa Made Indra, said.


'Of course, we will use the swab test results as the final results.'

So far 126 residents have returned a negative result after providing swabs.

'On Friday morning, we took another 183 swab samples for the PCR test,' Mr Indra said.

'We are conducting the test in phases.'

The task force team have now set up a communal kitchen to provide food for the village and make sure no one tries to leave.

There have been 10,843 confirmed coronavirus cases across Indonesia including a total of 831 deaths.

In Bali, there have been 237 positive tests with four deaths, however health experts suspect the figures may be significantly higher.

Of the 137 imported coronavirus cases into Bali, 134 have been made up of migrant workers, mostly in the cruise ship industry who have returned home since the outbreak began.

About 20,000 Balinese are estimated to work abroad, but since the beginning of March it's believed over 10,000 have now returned home.

With 60 percent of the island's revenue stemming from tourism, the holiday hotspot has been largely decimated by the pandemic.

'The potential losses for 2020 is approximately US$9 billion,' chairman of the Indonesian Tourist Industry Association Ida Bagus Agung Partha Adnyana told CNN.

Although social distancing measures have been put into place by authorities restricting religious ceremonies to no more than 25 people, footage over the weekend indicates not everyone is getting the message.

A Hindu cremation ceremony was held in Buleleng Regency showing hundreds of worshippers crowding in the street.


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