Indonesian authorities are moving fast to ensure that the facilities on Sebaru Kecil Island are finished for observing the evacuees from the World Dream cruise ship in Hong Kong, which was released from quarantine on Feb. 9.
The World Dream crewmen had already tested negative during their quarantine in Hong Kong, but authorities are taking no chances amid concerns over the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus outside China.
The uninhabited island, which is part of the Thousand Islands archipelagic regency of Jakarta, will be "home" for 188 Indonesian nationals who arrived on Wednesday afternoon to start their 14 days of observation.
The newly refurbished facilities were inspected on Thursday by the joint team managing the quarantine, comprising personnel from the Office of the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister, the Health Ministry, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police.
The necessary medical and security equipment were shipped on Wednesday from Jakarta aboard the TNI's KRI Banda Aceh and unloaded on Sebaru early Thursday. The TNI also provided a helicopter in the case of emergencies.
More than 760 personnel from the TNI and the BNPB, as well as a medical team from the Health Ministry, have been deployed to Sebaru for the 14-day observation protocol as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Marine Corps soldiers walked after the Indonesian Humanitarian Relief Task Force Ceremony on Sebaru Island in Mako Kolinlamil, Jakarta, Wednesday (02/26/2020). A total of 195 personnel of the Integrated Joint Task Command (Kogasgabpad) consisting of TNI-Polri, BNPB, Ministry of Health, and Seribu Islands Regency government officials were seconded to handle the observation of 188 Indonesian citizens from ABK World Dream on Sebaru Island. (Antara/M Risyal Hidayat)
“We are already 85 percent ready. What remains are the supporting facilities,” TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said in a media statement from the BNPB released on Thursday.
On inspecting the team's progress, Hadi instructed that all preparations be finished before 8 a.m. on Friday.
The crewmen were transferred at sea to the Navy's Dr. Soeharso Hospital Ship on Wednesday afternoon in the Durian Strait of Karimun regency, Riau Islands province, and then directly transported to Sebaru island.
BNPB logistics and equipment director Rustian emphasized that the facilities for Indonesia's "second edition" of quarantine on Sebaru were better than that provided in Natuna for the first group of 238 evacuees from Hubei.
Sebaru Kecil Island was once the site of a drug rehabilitation center, and retains most of the center's structural facilities.
Activities on Sebaru Kecil Island in the Thousand Islands, Jakarta, Monday (2/26/2020). The island will be the site of observation for 188 WNI ABK World Dream. (Antara/Akbar Nugroho Gumay)
The island had eight well-maintained buildings that were being repurposed for the quarantine, said Rustian. Isolation rooms and health posts were also being prepared.
The evacuated World Dream crewmen would take up residence in the main building, which had been modified for use as an observation center, Rustian said, who added that men and women would stay in separate buildings.
“Sebaru island is a home. There are decent bedrooms, all necessary facilities and is generally much better than Natuna. It can accommodate around 200 people,” he said. (syk)