Indonesia confirms 2 coronavirus cases: President Widodo

Jakarta, 02 Mar 2020 (CNA): Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday (Mar 2) that two Indonesians have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first confirmed cases in the country.

The president said a 64-year-old woman and her 31-year-old daughter had tested positive after being in contact with a Japanese national who lived in Malaysia and had tested positive after returning from a trip to Indonesia.

Widodo said an Indonesian medical team had traced the movements of the Japanese visitor before uncovering the cases.

"After checks, they were in a sick state. This morning I got a report that the mother and the daughter tested positive for coronavirus," said Widodo, who said they were being treated at Jakarta's Sulianti Saroso infectious diseases hospital.

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto told reporters that the Japanese visitor was a friend of the two women's family and had visited their house.

"Both are in good condition...they don't have serious breathing difficulties."

He said authorities were checking who else the Japanese visitor may have come into contact with.

The confirmation of the first cases of coronavirus came after authorities had defended their screening processes, with some medical experts raising concerns of a lack of vigilance and a risk of undetected cases in the Southeast Asian country of more than 260 million people.

The outbreak, which is said to have began in a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected nearly 90,000 as authorities race to contain infections in Iran, Italy, South Korea and the United States.

The virus has now killed more than 3,000 people worldwide, and spread to more than 60 countries.

With fears of a pandemic on the rise, the World Health Organization urged all countries to stock up on critical care ventilators to treat patients with severe symptoms of the deadly respiratory disease.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus has raised fears over its impact on the world economy, causing global markets to log their worst losses since the 2008 financial crisis.

China's economy has ground to a halt with large swathes of the country under quarantine or measures to restrict travel.

Other countries have started to enact their own drastic containment measures, including banning arrivals from virus-hit countries, locking down towns, urging citizens to stay home and suspending major events such as football matches or trade fairs.

The WHO says the virus appears to particularly hit those over the age of 60 and people already weakened by other illness.

It has a mortality rate ranging between 2 and 5 per cent - much higher than the flu, at 0.1 per cent, but lower than another coronavirus-linked illness, SARS, which had a 9.5 per cent death rate when it killed nearly 800 people in 2002-2003.
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