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Jakarta Post

Authorities tighten watch on Chinese workers in Indonesia's regions amid coronavirus fears

  • Apriadi Gunawan and Jon Afrizal

    The Jakarta Post

Medan and Jambi   /   Fri, January 31, 2020   /   08:16 am
Authorities tighten watch on Chinese workers in Indonesia's regions amid coronavirus fears A crew member gets his temperature checked on board the Nong Lyla which arrived from China at Panjang Port in Lampung on Wednesday. (AFP/Perdiansyah)

Amid the expanding coronavirus outbreak, authorities in Indonesia have been increasing monitoring of Chinese workers, especially those who recently arrived in the archipelago from mainland China, where the fast-spreading virus has killed at least 170 since it first emerged in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province.

In North Sumatra, a team from Langkat Health Agency conducted a medical check-up on 13 Chinese workers employed at PT Sinohydro coal-powered plant (PLTU) Pangkalan Susu, who recently arrived in Langkat regency from China.

Langkat Health Agency secretary Muhammad Ansyari said the agency organized the health check to anticipate a spread of the coronavirus.

Although the PLTU employs some 95 Chinese workers, only the 13 workers had to undergo the tests because they had arrived in the regency between Jan. 7 and 22 from China, a period that saw an escalation in the virus outbreak, he said.

"As of now, the test results show that the Chinese workers are in a healthy and stable condition. However, we still need to put them under observation for 14 days," Ansyari said on Wednesday.

Separately, North Sumatra Health Agency secretary Aris Yudhariansyah said the provincial administration would be collecting data on foreign workers, especially those who came from China, who resided in the province.

Langkat had also started to collect data on the foreign workers, he said. "We hope other areas will follow suit as soon as possible."

In Central Java, the Manpower and Transmigration Agency has also coordinated with relevant agencies to carry out health checks on some 5,778 Chinese workers who were employed in various companies in the province.

Chinese citizens make up the majority of 16,871 foreign workers in Central Java, the remainder of whom include Japanese, South Korean and Indian citizens, according to the agency's data.

"From our coordination with several institutions, including the Central Java Health Agency, we haven't found any foreign workers confirming positive for the virus," Central Java Manpower and Transmigration Agency head Sakina Rosellasari said as quoted by tribunnews.com on Thursday.

Similar measures have also been implemented in other regions, including in Pinrang regency in South Sulawesi and in West Java, where authorities have collected the data on foreign workers, especially Chinese citizens, and have conducted health checks on those who have recently traveled to China.

The novel coronavirus, which causes a pneumonia-like sickness, had killed 170 people in China as of Thursday, while the number of confirmed cases globally has spiked to more than 7,000, a majority of whom are on the Chinese mainland, AFP reports.

According to Health Ministry data, 16 patients in Indonesia were "under observation" for suspected infection as of Jan. 29, five of whom have been declared free of the virus. Indonesia has yet to confirm any case so far.

One such patient has been identified only as WDZ, 26, who was admitted to Raden Mattaher Hospital in Jambi on Saturday and had been receiving treatment in the hospital's isolation room as she showed signs of breathing difficulties and a fever. She was in Wuhan — the epicenter of the coronavirus — from Dec. 20 to 27, 2019.

On Wednesday, Jambi authorities had conducted an inspection of Kanaan Global School in Jambi city, where WDZ was employed

Jambi Employment and Transmigration Agency secretary Bahari said nine foreign workers were employed in the school, four of whom were Chinese citizens and the rest were Filipinos.

“All of them have complete travel documents. This is only a routine check," he said. (dpk)