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Jakarta Post

Impossible to evacuate Indonesians from Wuhan now: Ministry

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, January 27, 2020   /   12:11 pm
Impossible to evacuate Indonesians from Wuhan now: Ministry A discarded face mask sits on a street in Wuhan on Jan. 26, a city at the epicenter of a viral outbreak that has killed at least 80 people and infected nearly 2,000. China on Jan. 26 expanded drastic travel restrictions to contain the viral contagion, as the United States and France prepared to evacuate their citizens from the quarantined city at the outbreak's epicenter. (AFP/Hector Retamal)

The Foreign Ministry says it is not likely that it will evacuate Indonesian citizens trapped in the city of Wuhan, China, just yet as the place where the deadly coronavirus first emerged is on lockdown.

“Wuhan is still isolated, meaning we can’t go in and out of the city,” said the ministry’s acting spokesperson, Teuku Faizasyah, on Monday.

The statement comes after a number of countries, such as the United States and Japan, expressed their willingness to evacuate their respective citizens from the epicenter of the viral outbreak. “But from our observations, it seems to be impossible,” Faizasyah said as quoted by kompas.com.

He said that no Indonesian citizen in Wuhan had been exposed to the virus. Based on data from the Wuhan branch of the Indonesian Students Association in China, an estimated 93 Indonesian citizens were trapped in the city—a majority of whom were students.

Read also: Coronavirus outbreak: Indonesians in locked-down Wuhan want to come home

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi had offered a different number, saying there were 428 Indonesian students in Wuhan, 1,280 in Beijing and 849 in Shanghai. She, however, said 90 percent of the Indonesian students in Wuhan and its surrounding area had returned to Indonesia as of December last year.

The ministry previously issued a warning for Indonesians living in or planning to visit Wuhan. They were discouraged from having physical contact with living animals, including birds, eating undercooked meals and visiting fish markets as the virus was believed to have emerged from a fish market in the city of Hubei province.

The Chinese government confirmed on Sunday that the death toll from the outbreak had risen to 80 people, while the number of people infected by the virus had risen to over 2,000.

Cases have also been scattered in more than 10 countries, including the United States, France, Japan, as well as Indonesia’s neighbors of Singapore and Malaysia. As of the morning of Jan. 27, Indonesia has yet to declare a confirmed case of the virus. (vny)