Indonesia confirms 8 more coronavirus cases, total now 27

Officials spray disinfectant inside a mosque in Jakarta on March 8, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS/ANTARA FOTO

JAKARTA - Indonesia confirmed eight cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday (Mar 10) as the health ministry stepped up efforts to curb community spread.

Indonesia now has 27 confirmed cases, 21 of them disclosed in the last two days alone. The authorities have also identified a possible new cluster from Case 14, who had been ill for a few days before being admitted to hospital.

"He thought it was a common flu because he didn't have enough rest while having a lot of activities outside. He took common flu pills. When he was admitted to hospital, it could have been three days after he got sick," Mr Achmad Yurianto, the official spokesman for the Covid-19 situation, told a press conference.

The government has begun contact tracing on Case 14, a 50-year old man.

"We are continuing our contact tracing on people exposed to Case 14," said Mr Achmad, declining to give an estimated number of people who might have been in contact with the patient.

Mr Achmad stressed on Tuesday that hospitals treating Covid-19 patients had ample capacity and that an additional 10,000 tester kits had arrived in Jakarta on Monday.

Five of the eight patients on Tuesday were imported cases while two were of local transmission. Investigations are continuing into the remaining case. The two local transmissions - a 70-year old female and a 47-year old female (Case 20 and Case 21) - were infected by one of those in the Jakarta cluster, who contracted the coronavirus from Case 1.

Meanwhile, six Indonesians have been arrested for allegedly spreading misinformation online about the deadly coronavirus, AFP reported on Tuesday (March 10), citing police.

A woman in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city, was arrested on Monday for spreading inaccurate claims on Facebook that a patient was being treated for the virus in the city, AFP said.

Five others were also detained for spreading false information on social media, including claims a Muslim woman flying to Saudi Arabia for a religious pilgrimage had died suddenly from the virus at Jakarta's international airport.

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