The government is ready to give assistance to an Indonesian woman in her 50s who recently tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus in the Australian state of Victoria, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says.
Retno said that she had met with Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan in Jakarta on Monday to clarify the citizenship status of the woman, who was later confirmed to be an Indonesian citizen holding an Australian permanent residency visa.
She told reporters the Indonesian government “will try to get more information about her” while at the same time respecting her privacy.
“However, as she is an Indonesian citizen then she has to understand that if she needs help, our representative [in Australia] is ready to help her at any time,” Retno said on Monday.
News of the patient made rounds on Sunday after the Victorian Health Department issued a public statement saying the patient "who is now well and in home-isolation" was the 12th confirmed COVID-19 case in Victoria.
The woman, who flew from Jakarta to Perth on Feb. 27, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday.
The department is seeking to contact anyone who was traveling on Virgin Airlines flight VA682 from Perth to Melbourne on March 2, which was the flight taken by the patient when she was already showing symptoms of the respiratory illness.
The Indonesian Health Ministry’s Disease Control and Prevention Director General Achmad Yurianto said his ministry had coordinated with Indonesian representatives in the neighboring country to trace the patient’s travel records.
Achmad, however, asserted that his office believed the patient “did not contract the virus in Indonesia”.
Authorities worldwide, including in Indonesia and Australia, are on high alert over the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 4,000 and infected more than 110,000 people in more than 100 countries, AFP reported.
According to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, Australia recorded 91 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, while Indonesia recorded 19 cases on its soil.
Citizens have been advised to regularly wash their hands with soap and take care of their health as the best means of protecting themselves against the virus.