Timor-Leste has not registered a new case of COVID-19 in two weeks - but hundreds have "respiratory symptoms", authorities said. (Image/Robert Baird)

DILI, 9 May 2020 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste has passed two weeks without a confirmed case of COVID-19, with the last new positive test on April 24.

Spokeswoman for Integrated Crisis Management Centre (CIGC), Dr Odete Viegas da Silva confirmed yesterday that seven people remain in isolation at the Vera Cruz clinic with the virus.

However 17 patients with confirmed, and four “probable” cases have now recovered.

Dr Viegas cautioned that health authorities are monitoring 130 people in five municipalities with respiratory symptoms possibly consistent with the infection.

“According to the data, there are 13 people with respiratory symptoms in Bobonaro [District], 13 in Covalima, 10 in Ermera, 18 in Lautem, 56 in Liquiça and 20 in Manututo,” she said during the daily briefing at the Dili Convention Centre yesterday.

Timor-Leste has been spared the widespread outbreaks of neigbouring countries. Just 24 people have contracted the virus compared with more than 13,000 in Indonesia, and almost 7,000 in Australia.

There have also been no cases of community transmission in Timor-Leste; however, just 830 people have been tested so far.

The Australian government has donated a further 2,500 testing kits via the Menzies School of Health Research, with the Ministry of Health set to broaden its testing regime beyond Dili and to all people with symptoms.

There have been no reported deaths associated with the outbreak in Timor-Leste. However a Timorese woman living in Northern Ireland succumbed to the illness on Sunday.

Journalist: Tomé Amado, Robert Baird

Editors: Robert Baird, Agapito dos Santos

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