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Lack of coronavirus cases in Aussie tourism hotspot, Bali probably right, experts say

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Reports the Aussie holiday favourite Bali has no coronavirus cases are probably correct, experts say, with travellers urged to follow official advice on the outbreak.

Reports the Aussie holiday favourite Bali has no coronavirus cases are probably correct, experts say, with travellers urged to follow official advice on the outbreak.

There have only been two confirmed cases of the virus across Indonesia, with a mother aged 64 and her 31-year-old daughter announced on Monday to have the virus in capital Jakarta after coming into contact with a Japanese citizen.

Experts have cast doubt on the lack of cases in the country, with a study by Harvard University in the US earlier claiming that the country, the world's fourth most populated, may have missed some.

Indonesians officials hit back, saying there was "no hoax".

But the capital city is on a different island more than 1000km away from the holiday hotspot visited by more than one million Aussies every year and so far, no cases have been reported in Bali.

While the country's government said via on February 2 that three tourists were tested at Sangalah General Hospital in Denpasar but results found the didn't have the virus.

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No further updates have been posted, but airports are checking people on arrival for symptoms.

Australian National University's infectious diseases specialist, Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, said while he believed the government, some people may have been infected in Bali and the rest of the country, but not know it.

"I definitely agree that such a large country so close to China it is surprising, but it may well be that that's the case," Assoc. Prof. Senanayake told

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"It is possible they're lucky, particularly if a large percentage of tourists are coming from Australia."

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However, he added that 80 per cent of people only get a mild case of the illness, so may not know they've got it and would not seek medical help.

And while hospitals in Indonesian capitals are good, others in Bali might not be as strong if there is an outbreak, he added.

Assoc. Prof. Senanayake said Australians with holidays booked should follow official government advice.

While Indonesia, including Bali, is already at "exercise a high degree of caution" warning level, it's not because of coronavirus, but terrorism.

However, like many countries, the Smart Traveller Indonesia page has been updated with a coronavirus warning.

"The Indonesian Government has confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Indonesia," it reads.

"Australians should note the global situation with COVID-19 is changing very quickly.

"Read our bulletin on COVID-19 for advice on measures to reduce the risk of infection. Talk to your doctor before travelling if you are in an at-risk group."

Meanwhile, Bali's tourism bosses posted on Instagram this week about the coronavirus outbreak.

"We feel your concern," the post read.

However, what we can do now is taking care of ourselves better by following the prevention steps.

It told people to wash their hands and wear masks.

With 100,000 Chinese visitors every month not able to travel since since flights from China to Indonesia were cancelled on February 5, tourism, the island's biggest income, is suffering.

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The Straits Times reported at the recent Galungan festival locals were praying for the island.

"We're praying for good things in this universe and that the virus is gone soon so Bali's tourism can bounce back," priest Made Langgeng Buwana told AFP.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison met Indonesian President Joko Widodo on February 10 in Canberra and confirmed the pair had discussed the outbreak.

"We will continue to work closely with our medical advisers and the other arrangements that we have to ensure that we can both effectively carry out our responsibilities to our peoples to keep the health and well-being of our peoples in the highest possible order," he said at the time.

Worldwide, more than 92,000 people have coronavirus and 3,100 have died, with 70 countries affected.

Source: 9News

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