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Jakarta Post

Regents in East Java supply migrant workers with face masks following shortage

  • Asip Hasani

    The Jakarta Post

Blitar, East Java   /   Thu, February 13, 2020   /   09:17 am
Regents in East Java supply migrant workers with face masks following shortage Employees arrange face masks on a production line at a Salus Products factory, a manufacturer of disposable surgical products, near Changodar, some 20 km from Ahmedabad, India, on Feb. 1. (AFP/Sam Panthaky)

The administrations of Blitar, Tulungagung and Trenggalek regencies in East Java plan to send face masks to migrant workers following reports of mask shortages in a number of countries, especially Hong Kong.

The three regencies are among the province’s top suppliers of migrant workers.

The regents decided to take the step after several migrant workers asked their relatives at home to send masks to protect against the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

The Blitar regency administration announced it would send 10,000 face masks to Indonesian migrant workers from Blitar in Hong Kong. 

"I have been informed by some workers from Blitar in Singapore about the difficulties faced by Blitar workers in Hong Kong in obtaining face masks. Today we will send face masks to them," Blitar Regent Rijanto told reporters on Wednesday. 

However, he added that the administration would take care to ensure the face masks would still be available to residents in Blitar itself.

The Blitar Manpower Agency recorded that 4,377 migrant workers had left the regency to work abroad in 2019, with a majority being placed in Hong Kong and Taiwan. More than 95 percent are women working in the informal sector, mainly as domestic workers.

The Tulungagung and Trenggalek administrations also plan to send masks to migrant workers in Hong Kong. 

Tulungagung administration public relations head Galih Nusantoro said it would send 4,000 face masks to Tulungagung migrant workers in Hong Kong via the Indonesian consulate there. 

"This is the first phase. We will keep monitoring the situation especially in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore and will send more face masks to them if the situation requires us to do so," he said on Tuesday. 

The Trenggalek administration said it would also send masks to Hong Kong. 

"Today, we will send 10,000 face masks to our friends who work in Hong Kong. Migrant workers from Trenggalek can get them from the Indonesian consulate once they arrive," Trenggalek Regent M Nur Arifin said on Tuesday. 

According to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), there were more than 45,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, with 50 in Hong Kong, 47 in Singapore and 18 in Taiwan. (dyk)