The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is set to temporarily stop live animals imports from China and is mulling the possibility of banning imports of other products, including food and beverages, as fears grow that the coronavirus could spread into the country through imports.
Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto told reporters on Monday that the measure would be put in place as soon as Tuesday and would remain in place until the virus had been contained.
“We will obviously stop live animals imports from China and are still considering banning other products,” said Agus in Jakarta after a ministerial meeting on the coronavirus. The government “will only stop imports of products that could potentially spread the coronavirus”, he said.
The government, he added, would look to other countries to fulfill demand for imported products.
China is Indonesia’s biggest trade partner. The Southeast Asian country imports garlic and fruit, among other food and beverages, from China.
As of Monday, the coronavirus had killed 362, all but one in China, and had infected nearly 17,392 globally, surpassing infections caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the result of another strain of coronavirus that originated in China in 2003.
The Indonesian government declared on Sunday that it would ban all travel to and from China to prevent the spread of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus.
The ban, which took effect at 12 a.m. on Monday, prevents visitors who have stayed in China for 14 days or more from visiting or transiting in Indonesia. The government will suspend visa-free and visa-on-arrival provisions for Chinese citizens.