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Jakarta Post

Government prepares to quarantine Indonesians airlifted from Wuhan

  • Ardila Syakriah
    Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 31, 2020   /   09:20 pm
Government prepares to quarantine Indonesians airlifted from Wuhan A security personnel walks in front of the isolation room of Sulianti Saroso, an infectious diseases hospital, in in Jakarta on Monday. The government has appointed 100 hospitals as referral centers in efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus amid a global outbreak. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

To welcome Indonesians soon to be airlifted from Wuhan, China, the government is preparing to observe their health in isolation so as to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 200 people and infected thousands of others.

As many as 243 Indonesians previously stranded in China's Hubei province will be repatriated in the next 24 hours by a team from the Foreign Ministry, with officials noting that other government agencies were also making preparations at the receiving end.

The Health Ministry’s head of the emerging infectious diseases subdirectorate, Endang Budi Hastuti, said Friday that Indonesians returning from Wuhan must be quarantined for at least 14 days, which would allow authorities to observe them throughout the virus' estimated incubation period.

While the destination and intended location of quarantine is being kept under wraps, another official confirmed that all those who were stranded would return. “All Indonesians coming from Wuhan will be quarantined," the ministry's communicable disease prevention and control director, Wiendra Waworuntu, said on Friday.

Wiendra said everyone – not just those from Wuhan and other parts of Hubei – would be screened and observed at the point of entry, including those who had arrived in Jakarta and all other airports in Indonesia.

Anyone coming in from China will be given a Health Alert Card (HAC) that they must fill in. The card serves as a docket for passengers who experience fever or coughing 14 days after arrival and officials insist they must be referred to a health facility for examination.

She said the ministry was ready to screen and set up quarantine anywhere passengers landed.

During quarantine, those who are airlifted by the government from China would receive treatment by nurses, lung specialists, psychiatrists and other health officers, as well as quarantined food for their nutritional intake.

All port health offices in the country would be equipped with the expertise to process and transfer patients to a hospital should they show symptoms associated with the virus such as fever or coughing, Wiendra added.

Meanwhile, ministry spokesperson Widyawati said that those placed under quarantine would be provided with an information booklet to guide them through the process, laying out details such as the kinds of activities they can partake in under observation or the types of food that will be prepared for them. "The minister has tasked us with preparing [the materials]," Widyawati said. "Otherwise the stress can make them turn sick."

Separately, the director of Infectious Diseases Hospital (RSPI) Sulianti Saroso, Muhammad Syahril, said that the hospital already had isolation rooms prepared to receive any patients from Wuhan. “We from Jakarta RSPI have prepared 11 permanent isolation rooms if anyone from Wuhan needs to be treated,” Syahril said. (ami)