Timor-Leste health ministry urges calm over first positive Covid-19 case

Élia dos Reis Amaral
Timor-Leste's Vice-Minister for Primary Healthcare Élia dos Reis Amaral ... confimred the positice Covid-19 case. Image: Egas Cristovao/Tatoli

By Robert Baird and Felicidade Ximenes in Dili

Timor-Leste’s Health Ministry has confirmed the country’s first positive Covid-19 case, after test results arrived back from Australia.

Vice-Minister of Health Elia dos Reis Amaral confirmed the positive test yesterday.

She said the patient – a foreign national – had recently returned from overseas, and remained in isolation with what was described as only “mild” symptoms.

READ MORE: WHO world coronavirus map

In a statement, a ministry spokesperson said the department’s Epidemiological Vigilance Intervention team was assessing who the patient may have come into contact with.

“This [patient] is not a big risk to the public because they cooperated with health staff when they became sick with symptoms of Covid-19,” the statement said.

The ministry gave no further details on where the patient is being treated.

Until today, Timor-Leste was one of the few countries left in the region without a confirmed case of the virus, which has now infected more than 257,000 people in 176 countries and territories.

Earlier this week, the ministry announced a Timorese judge, who returned from Portugal on March 12, was being assessed for the virus. Her test results were yet to return.

“[We] appeal to all the population to, firstly, not to panic. Secondly, practice personal hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly with soap… and do not hold hands or hug one another when [showing symptoms],” the ministry spokesperson said.

Tatoli is the official national news website of Timor-Leste.


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