The Papuan Customary Council has called on local authorities to limit access to Papua and West Papua following the report of the first two COVID-19 cases in the region on Sunday.
"We demand that the authorities halt all flights to Papua," Customary Council head Dominikus Surabut said on Monday.
He also urged the Papua and West Papua provincial administrations to restrict people's activities to further contain the spread of the virus.
"There must be concrete action [to combat COVID-19]," Dominikus said, suggesting that prevention was better than cure.
Papua's COVID-19 task force reported previously that 15 patients were under surveillance in Papua as of March 22. Two of them tested positive while two others were negative. The remaining 11 patients were still waiting for their test results.
Papua Governor Lukas Enembe is set to hold a meeting with 29 regional heads, along with their respective health agencies, to discuss preventive measures.
"We will announce whether or not a lockdown will be imposed on Wednesday," Lukas said on Monday.
Separately, on Sunday, Mamberamo Tengah Regent Ham Pagawan said that he would ask for an aircraft from the central government to help transport potential COVID-19 patients from Papua's mountainous areas, which are difficult to reach by land.
They would then be transported to Wamena, the capital of Jayawijaya regency, for treatment. "Wamena will be the community service center for people from mountainous areas," Ham said.
As of Monday afternoon, Indonesia had recorded 579 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 49 deaths. (vny)