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COVID-19 cases increases to eight; patients refused evacuation

Ambulance take away tow more East Timorese Covid 19 patients who are quarantine in Katuas Hotel (15/4) Ambulance take away tow more East Timorese Covid 19 patients who are quarantine in Katuas Hotel (15/4) Photo Januario Varela

Tempotimor (Dili) – Timor-Leste has two new confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to eight cases. But the evacuation of the latest two patients led to dramatic scenes at the Katuas Hotel in the capital city Dili where a group of Timorese had been placed in mandatory quarantine.

On Wednesday (15 April) an ambulance arrived around 11:15am at the Katuas Hotel to evacuate two persons who were tested positive for COVID-19 to be taken from this quarantine location to the special isolation center in the Vera Cruz health center. Both patients however refused to cooperate with the medical team. They didn’t want to leave the hotel, nor get into the ambulance. 

A member of the medical team that entered the hotel to carry out the evacuation, explained to journalists at the scene, that the friends of these two persons, who are all quarantined together in the hotel, didn’t allow the two patients to be evacuated to the isolation center in Vera Cruz.

“They have three requests”, the medical team member said. “First, the two who are tested positive for COVID-19 have to be picked up at the same time and taken to isolation center in Vera Cruz, while others who are still in quarantine are moved to another place. Second, those who are still in quarantine will not give test-samples if they are not moved to another place,” the member of the medical team said. Thirdly, the people in the Katuas Hotel didn’t want to cooperate anymore because things never happened on time. “They want to be evacuated to the place they wanted,” the medical team member explained. 

Finally, after a two hours discussion, the two patients came out of the Katuas Hotel and agreed to be taken to the isolation facilities at the Vera Cruz health centre. 

The group that was quarantined at the Katuas Hotel had returned from Indonesia. Initially eight (8) of them crossed the land border in Batu-gede. Then they headed to Dili with twenty five (25) others in a bus and underwent mandatory quarantine at the Katuas hotel. Last Friday (10 April), a female student who was part of the group was tested positive for COVID-19 and was transferred to the isolation center in Vera Cruz. Then on Monday (13 April), Dr Odete Viegas, a member of the Integrated Crisis Management Centre (Sentru Integradu Jestaun Krize – SIJK) announced two persons from this group had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been transferred to isolation center as well. This meant that twenty two (22) people were still staying in mandatory quarantine in the Katuas Hotel.

However on Tuesday (14 April), SIJK spokesperson doctor Rui Maria Araujo announced again two new COVID-19 cases among this group. Then on Wednesday (15 April), when two more persons were tested positive, the group protested, blocked the evacuation of the two patients and demanded to be taken out from the Katuas Hotel. The have left the hotel and are now in another quarantine centre in Tasi Tolu west of the Capital.

To date Timor-Leste has a total of eight confirmed COVID-19 cases. One person has recovered. Then other seven patients, who are all related to the Bus-trip and quarantine in the Katuas Hotel, are now looked after in the isolation center in the Vera Cruz health centre.

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