British woman in Bali is Indonesia's first confirmed coronavirus death

JAKARTA (Reuters) – A 53-year-old British woman hospitalized on the resort island of Bali has died from the coronavirus, Indonesia’s first recorded death from the disease, officials said on Wednesday.

The British woman had arrived on the island on Feb. 29 and reported herself to medical authorities three days later after coming down with a fever, Dewa Made Indra, head of Bali’s COVID-19 task force, told Metro TV.

Indonesian health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said she had been suffering from four other preexisting conditions including diabetes and hypertension.

“We are supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Indonesia and are in contact with local authorities,” said John Nickell, a British embassy spokesman in Jakarta.

The British woman had been cremated at the family’s request, said Indra.

Bali, a popular destination for Chinese and other foreign tourists, previously had not reported any confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Indra said that 21 people who had contact with the woman had been tested.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, confirmed its first cases of the virus only last week, amid concern among some medical professionals of a lack of vigilance and a risk of undetected cases.

The health ministry has tested around 800 people for coronavirus, according to data on its web site. Indonesia on Wednesday confirmed seven new cases, bringing the total to 34.

The ages of the new patients, all of whom are Indonesian nationals and had contracted the virus overseas, ranged from 29 to 84 years old, said health ministry official Yurianto.

Indonesian authorities have said the confirmed cases had been imported from overseas or linked to a cluster in Jakarta tied to a Japanese visitor, though they are still investigating the origins of the infection in one patient.

“So far, no one is found to have had contact with the patient,” said Yurianto, who added that two patients had been discharged from Jakarta’s infectious diseases hospital after recovering.

Amid increased concern over the outbreak in the capital, Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan has canceled for the next two weeks a car-free day usually held on Sunday. Plans for Jakarta to host a Formula E electric car race scheduled for June 6 have been postponed.

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