Tourist dies from virus on Bali street


Authorities in Bali have confirmed a French tourist who was found slumped over a motorcycle on a busy street died from coronavirus and was not a "drunk tourist" as originally suspected.

Gerard Philippe Follet's death was initially thought to be alcohol poisoning or a heart attack after he was found unresponsive on a busy street in Denpasar eight days ago.

A day after the French man's death Bali Governor Wayan Koster denied the 72-year-old had coronavirus after a photo emerged on social media of Mr Follet drinking alcohol in a bar.

"That's not related to coronavirus, I got a photo, he was drinking tuak (alcohol), maybe he was dizzy while driving, he fell," Mr Koster said.

But a post-mortem test on Saturday confirmed Mr Follet as the fourth case of coronavirus on the holiday island.

"It was confirmed after a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that he was coronavirus positive," Sanglah Hospital official I Ketut Sudartana told The Jakarta Post.

A tourist who saw Mr Follet slumped over the handlebars of his motorcycle and raised the alarm with police said officers initially he thought he was a "drunk tourist".

"I thought maybe it was a stroke. I parked my bike and walked over to him. I saw he was breathing. Then I was thinking about coronavirus, so I shouted at him but got no response," the tourist said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

There have been suspicions about the low number of coronavirus cases in Bali. Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati
There have been suspicions about the low number of coronavirus cases in Bali. Picture: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati


"So I walked to a police post about 60 metres away and spoke to them. They were reluctant to help at first, they thought he was just a drunk tourist."

The man said officers called an ambulance after assessing Mr Follet.

"I said this could be a coronavirus case. They agreed. They called a coronavirus response team," the tourist said.

"He was breathing with shorter breaths, he was getting paler and paler, his lips were getting blue and then he stopped breathing. He was dead before the coronavirus response team arrived."

The French tourist's death comes amid concerns about an underreporting of cases of coronavirus in Bali, with experts calling its low number of cases "scientifically odd", The Jakarta Post reported.

Bali now has confirmed four cases, none from local transmission. The others are a British national and two Balinese people who recently returned from Italy and Jakarta.

Originally published as Tourist dies from virus on Bali street