Health officials in Bali have assembled a Task Force to prevent the spread of monkeypox to the Island of the Gods. The first known case of monkeypox was identified in a 27-year-old man in Jakarta over the weekend. It is believed the man contracted the virus after traveling aboard. In light of the development and armed with the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic, Bali health officials are taking a proactive approach from the start.
Speaking to the local press the Head of the Bali Health Office, Dr. I Nyoman Gede Anom, said that several steps had been taken previously to detect the monkeypox virus as early as possible. It is said that Bali is still safe from monkeypox and that the Task Force are fully focused on keeping it that way. There have been screening measures in place at Bali Airport for two weeks and airport staff has been informed to keep up the good work.
Dr. Anom reassured the public that although monkeypox is highly transmissible that ‘usually the symptoms are mild, but hospitals, health centers, are ready’. He confirmed that the thermo-cameras installed at both arrivals and departure terminals will play a key role in the early detection of symptoms. The thermo-cameras can detect a subtle increase in temperature that could be a signal that a person is about to develop more clinical symptoms before they begin to feel unwell.
Dr. Anom spent time explaining to reporters and the public the symptoms and treatment for the virus which is causing some concern in communities across the island. He explained how the virus is generally treated with anti-viral medication and supplementary vitamins to help boost the immune system.
The health leader shared that he and his task force are working with district and city health departments to increase surveillance for symptoms in local clinics and hospitals. There is no isolation center set up, however, the space has been identified in the unlikely event that mass isolation is needed. He reassured that the most important thing the public need to do if they are worried about monkeypox or are concerned that they have symptoms is to immediately report to the nearest medical facility.
Dr. Anom reminded the public that monkeypox begins with a fever which is immediately followed by a rash on the first day until the third day after the onset of the fever. He warned that monkeypox can affect everyone and can be spread through direct contact with an infected person, and airborne particles.
He ended his update by saying ‘Everyone can get it, as long as they touch it, they will get it. Touch the wound or close it, use the same towel’. He suggested that people simply to adhere to the health protocols of Covid-19.
The General Manager of Bali Airport has also spoken to the media about the latest development in Jakarta and shared how his teams are working to ensure that monkeypox does not break out in Bali. He said ‘Don’t panic, do PHBS (Clean and Healthy Lifestyle), health protocols. Because we are also still in a pandemic atmosphere, keep health protocols.
When asked about further preventative measures at the airport he said ‘Regarding the prevention of monkeypox outbreaks on the island of Bali, we always coordinate with related parties such as the KKP, BNPB, or other parties to make adjustments at the airport’. In the event that monkeypox is detected at Bali Airport there is a series of protocols in place to ensure the safety of the individual and the public more broadly.
He said that tourists should not be fearful of monkeypox and assured the public that it remains safe to travel in Bali and Indonesia as a whole. ‘Currently, the world of tourism is experiencing growth after the decline in Covid-19 cases. To maintain this momentum, we always urge the public, especially airport service users, to always comply with health protocols everywhere, so that the spread of the monkeypox virus can be prevented, and not spread on the island of Bali [so that] monkeypox will not become an epidemic in Indonesia’.
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