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Jakarta Post

‘We don’t have anything’: Timor Leste pleads for help to quarantine citizens in Bali

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 5, 2020   /   02:58 pm
‘We don’t have anything’: Timor Leste pleads for help to quarantine citizens in Bali Xanana Gusmao, East Timor's former first president, visits Alm's grave. B.J Habibie, Indonesia former third president at the Heroes Cemetery, Kalibata, Jakarta, on Sunday, September 15, 2019. (JP/Narabeto Korohama)

Timor Leste Planning and Strategic Investment Minister Xanana Gusmao confirmed that the country had requested assistance from Indonesia to put 17 of its citizens who are soon to be repatriated from China because of the coronavirus outbreak into quarantine in Bali, despite a prior refusal by the island's administration.

The Timor Leste government made the request since the country lacked the proper infrastructure and equipment to handle coronavirus cases, Gusmao said after a meeting with Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD in Jakarta on Tuesday.

“We don’t have the proper facilities. We don’t have anything, which is why we requested assistance just like any other country. It’s not like we’re asking for exclusive treatment,” said the former Timor Leste president as quoted by

He said he was confident that Indonesia was better equipped to handle coronavirus cases than Timor Leste.

Read also: Our good neighbor, Timor Leste

“This is a global issue, not something that [only affects] Timor Leste and Indonesia. I believe Indonesia is more capable [of handling coronavirus cases] than us and will therefore help us resolve this issue,” Gusmao added.

The Bali provincial administration confirmed that Timor Leste had asked for Indonesian permits and assistance to quarantine 17 of its citizens on the island. The request was made through the Indonesian Embassy in Dili.

However, a meeting held by the administration on Monday decided to reject Timor Leste’s request to put its citizens into quarantine on the island.

“The relevant parties in the province did not agree to grant the request; therefore, it’s difficult for us to accept it," Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardana Sukawati said on Monday, as quoted by

The decision was made based on considerations and input from several tourism stakeholders in Bali. (rfa)