Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA) - A suspected COVID-19 patient under surveillance undergoing treatment at the Martha Friska Multatuli Hospital's isolation ward in Medan, North Sumatra Province’s capital, died on Wednesday evening, a local government official stated.

The patient was only identified by the initials FG. The 46-year-old patient resided in Medan Labuhan Sub-district, spokesman of the North Sumatra Provincial Government's Task Force for Handling COVID-19 Yudhariansyah noted here, Thursday.

The patient's death could not as yet be linked to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the absence of rapid test. However, the deceased will be buried at a special funeral area for those dying of COVID-19, he revealed.

Medan, the biggest city in the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has been classified as a "red zone" area of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two other red zone areas in North Sumatra were Deli Serdang District and Tanjung Balai City.

As revealed by North Sumatra Provincial Administration Secretary Sabrina earlier, the provincial administration categorized Medan, Deli Serdang, and Tanjung Balai as red zones partly since they were North Sumatra's main ports of entry and exit; their huge populations; and their high mobility of people.

COVID-19 that initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 has spread to various provinces in Indonesia.

As of April 8, some 84 cases were confirmed in North Sumatra Province, while death toll from this virus had reached seven, and eight patients had received discharge from hospitals.

In tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, the North Sumatra COVID-19 Response Task Force has readied 11 hospitals as a precautionary measure against a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the province.

Yudhariansyah remarked that the provincial government had also distributed some four thousand rapid test kits to all district and city health offices as well as hospitals serving as the first line of defense against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has also distributed personal protective equipment among medical workers to protect them from being exposed to the virus, he stated, emphasizing the need for hospital authorities to be heedful of the management of COVID-19-related waste and garbage, so that they would not become a source of the contagious disease.

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Translator: Nur ABS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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