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Jakarta Post

Ninety percent of Indonesian students have left Wuhan: Minister

  • Dian Septiari
    Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, January 23, 2020   /   07:11 pm
Ninety percent of Indonesian students have left Wuhan: Minister Thermal scanning equipment is being used in the Hankou railway station in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province on Jan. 21. On that day Asian countries ramped up measures to block the spread of a new virus as the death toll in China rose to six and the number of cases surpassed 300, raising concerns in the middle of a major holiday travel rush. (AFP/STR / AFP) / China OUT)

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has said that since December about 90 percent of Indonesians studying in Wuhan had already left the Chinese city at the center of a mysterious virus outbreak and returned to Indonesia for the Lunar New Year holiday.

“According to the records from our embassy in Beijing, there are 428 Indonesian students in Wuhan, 1,280 in Beijing and 849 in Shanghai," Retno told reporters on Thursday.

"As of December 2019, 90 percent of the Indonesian students in Wuhan and its surroundings have returned to Indonesia because of holidays until mid-February."

The coronavirus, which bears similarities to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), was reportedly first detected on Dec. 31 in Wuhan.

China banned trains and planes from leaving Wuhan on Thursday, seeking to isolate its 11 million people to contain the contagious disease that has claimed 17 lives, infected hundreds and spread to other countries, AFP reports.

Authorities in Wuhan, a major transportation hub, also suspended public buses and subways and said residents should not leave "without a special reason".

More than 570 people have been infected with the virus across China – with most cases found in Wuhan, where a seafood market that illegally sold wild animals has been identified as the epicenter of the outbreak.

Retno said that Indonesia’s representatives in Beijing continue to coordinate with the universities in China.

"According to the embassy, there had been no reports of Indonesians infected by the virus in China," she said.

The chairman of Indonesian Student Association in China, Fadlan Muzaki, said the students who currently remain in China outside Wuhan have received an advisory alert from the embassy against traveling to Wuhan. They are also required to seek medical attention if they have pneumonia-like symptoms and are advised to avoid contact with live animals, especially poultry and birds, as well as to avoid eating uncooked meat.

He said some of those who opted not to return to Indonesia for school holidays instead visited other cities in China.

“Some of them could not return to Wuhan because there is a travel lockdown," he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. "While those who are in Wuhan always wear masks everywhere."

He said the student association has also advised them to return to Indonesia if possible.