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Jakarta Post

Natuna closes schools as Wuhan evacuees put under quarantine in regency

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 4, 2020   /   08:17 am
Natuna closes schools as Wuhan evacuees put under quarantine in regency Medical officers inspect Indonesians repatriated from Wuhan, China, as they arrive at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, in Riau Islands, on Sunday, Feb. 2. (Antara/Handout Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Natuna administration has closed schools for a two week period after the regency in Riau Islands was officially named a quarantine and observation zone for 243 evacuees from Wuhan and surrounding cities in Hubei province, China.

Read also: Indonesia readies plans for post-quarantine period: Health Ministry

Natuna administration secretary Wan Siswandi said authorities had issued a circular on the school break, explaining that children were prone to exposure to the coronavirus.

“At least with the break, children can stay at home to avoid possible infection,” Siswandi said on Sunday, as quoted by kompas.com.

The school break will last from Feb. 3 to Feb. 17 for all elementary and high schools located near Bunguran Island, where the evacuees, comprising 242 Indonesian citizens, including five Foreign Ministry officials, and one non-citizen, are being quarantined.

Yulius Piliang, a Natuna resident confirmed the closure, saying that a copy of the circular had been given to all parents with children in schools around the island.

“We, as parents are very supportive of the steps taken by the local administration,” said Piliang.

Residents of Bunguran Island reportedly flocked to the port by the Lampa Strait on Sunday night to get off the island as soon as possible.

The people of Natuna have protested the decision to quarantine the repatriated Indonesian citizens in the regency.

Read also: ‘They’re our brothers and sisters’: Jokowi asks for understanding for Wuhan evacuees quarantined in Natuna

The Indonesian Youth National Committee (KNPI) in Natuna demanded Jakarta transfer the evacuees to a navy vessel to be relocated offshore.

The committee also asked the government to provide healthcare, including psychiatrists, for the Natuna community.

It also asked the health minister to open an office in Natuna during the quarantine process to ensure the well-being of the Natuna community.

“At the moment, Natuna people are worried and anxious,” committee chairman Haryadi said recently.

In response, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi confirmed Sunday that the health minister would open an office in Natuna during the observation period, Kompas reported. (syk)