The Jakarta Post
The remaining 68 Indonesian crewmen on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship are expected to arrive home on Sunday, as Jakarta officially dispatched a team on Friday to airlift the citizens from the coronavirus-hit ship docked in Japan.
The evacuation team is made up of 23 people, comprising representatives of the Foreign Ministry, the Indonesian Military, the Health Ministry and national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.
“We are praying for the [evacuation] to take place safely and all will return home in good condition,” Retno said on Friday.
The Garuda Indonesia airplane departed from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, at 4 p.m. on Friday and was scheduled to land at the Haneda Airport in Tokyo at 1 a.m. on Saturday.
The plane is to depart Japan at 6 p.m local time on Sunday and was expected to arrive in Indonesia near midnight on the same day, Retno said.
Among the total of 78 Indonesian crew members initially on board the Diamond Princess, only 68 of them would return to Indonesia and all of them had undergone a polymerase chain reaction test, after which they had been declared negative for COVID-19, she said.
Eight crew members had tested positive for coronavirus and were currently being treated in a Japanese hospital, while two other Indonesians had decided to continue working on the cruise ship, Retno added.
Japanese authorities quarantined the Diamond Princess and its 3,711 passengers and crew for two weeks starting on Feb. 5 in Yokohama. By the time the quarantine was over 14 days later, more than 600 of those aboard had tested positive for COVID-19.
The coronavirus has spread globally since it first emerged from Wuhan city in China in late December and it infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,800 by Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Indonesia has still reported zero cases of coronavirus so far. (dpk)