Jakarta – The World Health Organization (WHO) says Indonesia is well-prepared to anticipate the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, which as of Wednesday had killed 132 people in China since the outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Authorities have implemented preventative measures to defend against the epidemic at 135 points of entry to the archipelago, including at airports, seaports and border areas, such as installing thermal scanners and medical check-up posts to examine suspected carriers of the virus, a representative of the Geneva-based United Nations agency acknowledged.
"Indonesia has a functioning early warning system and 100 hospitals in various locations that serve as referral [centers] and can handle cases with proper measures as well as effective infection prevention, " WHO representative for Indonesia, Navaratnasamy Paranietharan, said as quoted by Antara.
According to Indonesian Health Ministry data, 13 suspected carriers of the virus had been under observation in hospitals. As of Tuesday, authorities claimed that 11 of the patients tested negative to the virus, while two others remain under observation.
The suspected cases were reported in Jakarta, Manado in South Sulawesi, Bali and Sorong in West Papua, among other locations, according to the ministry.
The new strain of coronavirus, which bears similarities to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), has killed 132 people in China and infected over 6,000 in four continents, AFP reported.
Indonesia's neighboring countries, including Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases.
The WHO has declared the outbreak an emergency in China, but has not yet declared a global emergency. (gis)