While the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Timor-Leste is still significantly less than the figures reported in neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Australia, which are in their thousands, Ninivia is worried that an outbreak could occur because of complacency.
“What I fear most is local transmission of COVID-19,” she says. “So far there are just over 20 cases. We have been able to identify where these people are and where they have been, and have been able to quarantine them, so it’s still manageable.
“But if there’s local transmission that would be a huge challenge. It’s Timorese culture to have very big families, and social connection is a huge thing for Timorese people. Even though messages of social or physical distancing have been disseminated, people are still coming together.
“It’s quite a big challenge for the government.”
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