Dr Rui Maria de Araújo (Image/Egas Cristovão)

DILI, 07 April 2020 (TATOLI)– Timor’s only confirmed Covid-19 patient is continuing to recover from the illness, according to the head of the Centre of Integrated Crisis Management (CIGC) group.

The patient tested positive for the highly-contagious virus 18 days ago, and has remained in isolation under medical care.

CIGC spokesman, Dr Rui Maria de Araújo, said the patient’s signs are positive.

“There is no more fever, but the laboratory test is still positive,” Dr Araújo told reporters on Tuesday.

Dr Araújo, a former prime minister and health minister, said patients typically need four weeks of treatment before recovering.

“Now we are in the fourth week. In a few more days, [we] will see the latest test result,” he added.

Patients must return two negative test results before they can be discharged, Dr Araújo said.

Related news: Mask Shortage Looms for Dili Retailers

Timor-Leste has registered just one confirmed case of the virus,  while 41 patients have returned negative tests. A further four are awaiting results, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

People returning to Timor-Leste from overseas are required to undergo 14 days mandatory quarantine. Some 884 people remain in mandatory quarantine, while 74 are completing the period at home. 736 people have already completed their 14 days.

However you acquire one, masks are essential: Araújo

Timor’s State of Emergency decree passed last month imposes restrictions on movement, gatherings and religious mass. It also requires Timor residents to wear a mask when entering a business, or riding a scooter.

Amid the pandemic, surgical masks have been in short supply globally. But Dr Rui Maria de Araújo said it was important that people comply with the emergency decree.

Related news: PNTL Reports Groups “Disrespecting” Emergency Decree 

Face masks for sale in a store in Liquiça District (Image/Evaristo Soares Martins)

“The surgical masks usually only worn by health professionals, but at this time all of us can use [them],” he said.

Stores in Dili told TATOLI last week their supplies of masks had completely run out, and an expected shipment from Indonesia was delayed.

But Dr Araújo said people can create their own masks, if the shops run out.

“If we are running out of surgical masks, we can create our own [what we] call ‘Kajeira’ masks. We can use cloth and elastic to create our own masks, to protect ourselves from COVID-19,” he suggested.


Unlike disposable surgical masks, Dr Araújo said, the home-made masks can be cleaned and reused. Before putting on the mask, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, he said.

Read the original Tetum here: CIGC Kontinua Husu Sidadaun Uza Máskra

Journalist: Hortencio Sanchez

Editors: Robert Baird, Agapito dos Santos

Translation: Nelia Borges

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