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Jakarta Post

'Diamond Princess' evacuees to start separate quarantine on Sebaru island

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, March 2, 2020   /   03:15 pm
'Diamond Princess' evacuees to start separate quarantine on Sebaru island Medical workers in hazmat suits disinfect Indonesian crewmen evacuated from the Diamond Princess as they disembark on Sunday, March. 1, 2020, at Kertajati International Airport in Majalengka, West Java. The crewmen tested negative for the COVID-19 virus in Japan, but will undergo a second quarantine period as a precaution on Sebaru Kecil Island in Thousand Islands regency, Jakarta. (Antara/ Muhammad Adimaja)

The 69 Indonesian crewmen, who were airlifted from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, and arrived back in Indonesia on Sunday evening, are due to start their 28-day quarantine period on Sebaru Kecil Island today.

The Garuda Indonesia aircraft carrying the evacuees from Tokyo's Haneda Airport landed at around 11 p.m. on Sunday at Kertajati International Airport in Majalengka, West Java.

The crewmen were sprayed with disinfectant upon disembarking the aircraft, and then transported to a port at the Indramayu thermal power plant (PLTU). There, they boarded the Indonesian Navy's Dr. Soeharso Hospital Ship to Sebaru Kecil Island in the Thousand Islands archipelagic regency, which extends north-northeast of Jakarta Bay.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs (Menko PMK) Muhadjir Effendy said that the crewmen were healthy and they would undergo a series of medical examinations aboard the hospital ship en route to the uninhabited island, including sample collection.

"The [Diamond Princess evacuees] have health certificates from the Japanese authorities that declare them healthy," Muhadjir said on Sunday. "However, we will conduct further examinations in accordance with the President's instructions, as we have to be careful about this."

Sebaru island is currently housing 188 Indonesian crewmen who were evacuated from the World Dream cruise ship in Hong Kong and arrived on Friday afternoon to start their 14-day quarantine period .

Read also: Jakarta's island starts housing evacuees from World Dream cruise ship

Muhadjir said that the Diamond Princess evacuees would be placed in a different "quarantine block" and kept separate from the World Dream evacuees.

"There are two [quarantine] blocks," he said, and that the government had prepared the details of the quarantine procedure in consultation with the relevant agencies.

Of the 78 Indonesian crewmen who were working aboard Diamond Princess, eight have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, China. The eight Indonesians remain in Japan, where they are receiving treatment.

Earlier, the government said that only the 68 crewmen who had tested negative for COVID-19 would be evacuated, as the two others had decided to continue working on the cruise ship. However, acting Foreign Ministry spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said that one of the two later decided to return to Indonesia, kompas.com reported.

The Japanese government quarantined the Diamond Princess and all 3,711 passengers and crew on board for two weeks starting Feb. 5 in Yokohama. By the time the ship and all aboard were released from quarantine on Feb. 19, more than 600 passengers and crew had tested positive for COVID-19.

Following the evacuation, the Garuda Indonesia aircraft used in the evacuation has been grounded at Kertajati airport for three days of disinfection and sterilization. (gis)