Aussie tourists on notice after man diagnosed with coronavirus following Bali trip

There are concerns after a man who visited Bali has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Chinese national, known as Jin, is said to have visited the popular holiday island from Wuhan on January 22, the Jakarta Post reports citing a statement from the Huainan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on social media site Weibo.

The man stayed in Bali for about a week before leaving for Shanghai on January 28.

Bali Health Agency’s Ketut Suarjaya said it’s yet to be confirmed whether the man in question had the virus while he was in Indonesia.

Health workers practise moving a suspected coronavirus patient in a Bali hospital. Source: Getty Images

The Huainan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said he was diagnosed with coronavirus on February 5.

He added the “incubation period” for the illness is 14 days and it’s possible the patient only contracted the disease on returning to China. 

The paper reported two Chinese nationals are currently in Bali’s Sanglah Hospital in isolation. It hasn’t been confirmed if the pair have coronavirus though.

While the Department of Health doesn’t have any specific warnings for Australians travelling to Bali, Smart Traveller recommends caution travelling to any country with signs of coronavirus. Other popular holiday destinations that have confirmed cases of coronavirus include Thailand (33 cases), Singapore (50) and Vietnam (15).

It advises anyone pregnant or with a weak immune system to speak to a doctor and to understand the risks and “that efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus may cause further travel disruptions and restrictions”.

Doubts over Indonesian reports

Australian National University's infectious diseases specialist, Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, told SBS News he doubts whether Indonesia is completely coronavirus free.

“It may well be the case, that they’ve detected no cases of coronavirus, it all depends on the ability of the health service to screen and detect,” he told SBS News. 

“But, it’s possible there may be cases they don’t yet know about.”

Bali's Diamond Beach. There are doubts over reports Indonesia has no cases of coronavirus. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

Indonesia has the fourth-largest population in the world.

Professor Senanayake said people who could be infected may be choosing not to go to hospital for treatment.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told ABC News he finds it “very surprising” no cases have been reported in Indonesia.

Bat meat remains ‘a favourite’

Bat meat also remains popular in some parts of Indonesia despite concerns it might be associated with the virus.

Bats are traditionally eaten by the Minahasan people from North Sulawesi in the form of a curry-like dish called Paniki. Whole bats are used in Paniki, including the head and wings.

Stenly Timbuleng, who sells bats at his stall in Tomohon, in North Sulawesi, said coronavirus hasn’t affected sales.

"In fact... sales continue. It is always sold out,” he said.

On an average day, Mr Timbuleng sells 50-60 bats and during festive periods, he can sell up to 600.

Indonesian culinary expert William Wongso told Reuters bats remain “the favourite indigenous protein” especially in parts of North Sulawesi.

"My favourite part is the wings," Mr Wongso said.

Resident Jufry Mantak said the links between the coronavirus and his favourite dish have not put him off.

"We have not found any (coronavirus) cases in Manado. Up till now, there are still many people eating these bats. Because bats are good, especially when cooked with coconut milk,” he said.

There are currently a total of 13 coronavirus patients in Australia.

An eight-year-old boy from Wuhan became the 13th diagnosed in Australia when he was diagnosed in Queensland last week.

He was travelling with a 44-year-old man and 42-year-old woman who were also diagnosed with the virus in Queensland.

All three are from Hubei province, which is at the epicentre of the virus in China.

with Reuters

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