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Are Japanese travelers spreading Coronavirus unknowingly?

Is Indonesia really free of COVID-19?

Are Japanese travelers spreading Coronavirus unknowingly?

A Japanese man has tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shortly after returning from a visit to Indonesia, Japanese public broadcaster NHK has reported.

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This is the second time a visitor returns from Indonesia to Japan and was diagnosed with Coronavirus. Before a Chinese man returns and had the virus.

According to the World Health Organization and Indonesian authorities, there is no virus in Indonesia. The popular tourist destination Bali has had no coronavirus cases. Is that good luck—or bad testing? This was a question asked last week by Foreign Policy News.

A Japanese visitor who returned from Hawaii, USA to Japan a week ago also had the virus and Hawaii is free of COVID-19 according to Hawaii Health Officials. Since the time period to spread the virus was increased from 2 to 4 weeks travelers like this Japanese tourist and another tourist from South Korea who visited Israel recently, could possibly spread the virus without knowing it.

According to the NHK report, the Tokyo metropolitan government announced on Saturday that the man, a Tokyo resident in his 60s, had been infected by the novel coronavirus.

The man, a staff member of a senior care facility, visited a healthcare institution on Feb. 12 after he developed “cold-like symptoms”, but returned home the same day because he was not diagnosed with pneumonia. He returned to work at the senior home on Feb. 13. He spent Feb. 14 at home and then reportedly traveled to Indonesia on a family vacation on Feb. 15. 

The NHK report did not specify the man’s exact destination in Indonesia.

The man was hospitalized upon his return to Japan on Feb. 19 for severe difficulty breathing, and is said to be in “serious condition”.

A press release from the Tokyo Novel Coronavirus Infectious Disease Control Center on the Tokyo metropolitan government’s website states that a Tokyo resident in his 60s had tested positive for the disease and that the onset of his symptoms occurred on Feb. 12. 

The release, however, does not mention any travel history to Indonesia, saying only that the man had no travel history to China within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. The patient’s condition is listed as “serious”.