Monday, June 29, 2009

Now Bali wants your blood

DENPASAR – There are conficting reports coming out of Bali about how local authorities are dealing with the outbreak of swine flu on the island. Bali Update ( says the airport authorities will single out planes from countries confirmed to be infected with the H1N1 virus for special treatment. Upon landing at Bali's airport planes will be taken to a remote aircraft parking area where the plane and its passengers will be sprayed with disinfectant. Passengers will then be disembarked and subjected to thermal scanners. However, the Jakarta Globe is reporting that Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport is now requiring all arriving international air passengers to undergo a blood test. Nyoman Murtiyasa, the head of the airport’s health office, quoted in the Jakarta Globe said that all passengers arriving from overseas would be required to take a blood test at the airport. 

 A tourist from Melbourne, 22-year-old British passport holder Bobbie Masoner, became the country’s first confirmed swine flu patient when she was rushed to Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar shortly after landing a week ago. 

She has since been declared healthy and discharged. Gusti Lanang Suartana, head of medical services at Sanglah, said that Masoner and her family were currently isolated at a house in the Jimbaran area just south of the airport. .Three patients are still being treated at Sanglah hospital, including a 12-year-old Australian whose test results were positive. 

 Murtiyasa said that, initially, the blood test would be prioritised for passengers coming from endemic countries such as Australia, and that their health records would be ascertained while they were still on the plane. “Once they get off the plane, we will ask them to take a blood test,” he said, adding that the results would be ready within 30 minutes. 

 Six Indonesians have also been confirmed as having swine flu, although all but one are overseas and will not be allowed to return until they are declared free of the virus, health ministry officials have said. The sole Indonesian being treated in the country is a pilot currently hospitalised in Jakarta. 

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