The Jakarta Post
Two male residents of Batam, the Riau Islands, who had been in close contact with a Singaporean who had the virus, were placed in quarantine on Wednesday after initially evading health authorities.
Both men work as ride-hailing ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers and are among the 15 people identified as having been in close contact with three Singapore residents who tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Batam. The two had evaded health authorities for fear of losing their incomes.
The first man had briefly entered the quarantine facility at a local haj dormitory along with nine others, but escaped on Tuesday morning.
He agreed to be quarantined after persuasive intervention by police officers, although he was still anxious about being unable to make an income during the 14-day period. Riau Islands Police health division head Sr. Comr. Muhammad Haris said police were able to track the man down with the help of the ride-hailing company where he worked.
"We told him he needed to be quarantined because he was in contact with a person with COVID-19. If he refused, we would take action," Haris told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
He added that the man had not been in direct contact with the Singapore COVID-19 patient, but rather with the patient’s domestic helper.
Haris added that some confusion seemed to exist among the media regarding the number of people who had escaped quarantine, and stressed that only one person had fled. The other man had refused to be quarantined in the first place, but had since agreed to be quarantined at the haj dormitory.
"[So] We only found the one person. We found him the day after he fled quarantine," he said. “He told us, if he was quarantined, how would he make money. Well, financial problems are not our jurisdiction. Our job is just to find him."
Haris also said that officers had been placed on guard at the haj dormitory that is being used to quarantine 11 identified close contacts, while others had been assigned to the residences of the four other close contacts, who are in self-isolation. (nal)