The patients who tested positive arrived on this bus from the Indonesian border, health officials confirmed (Image/Cipriano Colo)

DILI, 13 April 2020 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste has registered two more cases of Covid-19 – bringing the country’s total to four – after fresh test results were announced today.

Covid Crisis group (CIGC) spokeswoman Odete Viegas said the two arrived from Indonesia on April 1, and have been taken from quarantine to isolation at Dili’s Vera Cruz clinic.

CIGC Spokeswoman, Dr Odete Viegas (Image/Egas Cristovão)

She said all three positive patients are in a stable condition, and continue to be monitored.

“Happily, their condition is good. [They] have no fever and have not developed a cough. Significantly, they’re under the observation of two GPs, including nurses and also specialists dedicated to their cases,” Dr Viegas said today.

Vera Cruz Health Clinic in Caicoli, Dili (Image/Felicidade Ximenes)

Dr Viegas – also the Director-General of Health Services at the Ministry of Health – said the pair had been in quarantine at Dili’s Hotel Katua’s after arriving from Kupang, in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tengarra province.

The two travelled by road to the Batugadé border post as part of a group of eight, she said. Once over the border, the group caught a bus from Maliana (Bobonaro) to Dili.

“From Batugadé to Dili they caught the Maliana bus. On that bus there was a total of 25 people, including the driver and two conductors,” Dr Viegas said.

Across the border in Indonesia, more than 4,500 people have now contracted the virus – although experts warn limited testing in the country means the actual number may be far higher.

The bordering region East Nusa Tengarra, which includes the city of Kupang, was one of the country’s last provinces to confirm a positive case of the virus.

Mass testing at Dili quarantine site

As of today, Timor-Leste’s borders are closed to all travellers, including Timorese citizens. But earlier, Timorese people were able to enter, provided they complete 14 days mandatory quarantine.

The Ministry has tested all 168 people at the Hotel Katua’s for Covid-19; 111 tested negative, while 53 are expected to find out tomorrow afternoon if they’ve contracted the virus, Dr Viegas said.

And she said health staff will track down the patients aboard the bus from Maliana tomorrow.

“Tomorrow, the health team will go…take their sample. Even though they don’t have symptoms [of Covid-19], we should take their sample as soon as possible, because we want to limit the number of transmissions,” she said.

Dr Viegas stressed all four positive cases have imported the virus from overseas, meaning there has been no local transmission to date.

However, she urged anyone who had contact with one a passenger on the Maliana bus to reach out to health authorities immediately for a Covid-19 test.

Journalist: Robert Baird

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