The Jakarta Post
The West Manggarai Regency administration is planning to temporarily close Komodo Airport and Labuan Bajo Port in East Nusa Tenggara to slow the spread of COVID-19.
West Manggarai Deputy Regent Maria Geong said that people would not be able to enter or leave the regency from March 28 to April 5.
“This is not a lockdown as airlines can still pick up supplies in West Manggarai regency. So starting Saturday, no people will be coming home via the Labuan Bajo entry point,” Maria told The Jakarta Post by phone on Thursday.
"In an emergency, sick people requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 outside [of the regency] will be prioritized."
The contagious respiratory illness that has killed thousands globally has confirmed cases in 25 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces.
Indonesia confirmed Wednesday 105 new cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 790. Of the total, 31 people have recovered and 58 have died. A total of 186 people in the province were under general monitoring for COVID-19 as of Wednesday.
The regency administration previously sent a letter to the Transportation Ministry requesting that authorities start closing the airport and seaport as a preventive measure against the pandemic.
“The West Manggarai administration had requested the ministry to temporarily restrict access for passenger vessels. Cargo vessels are still allowed to unload their supplies through the seaport and airport at West Manggarai,” Maria explained, adding that medical workers in the area were in urgent need of protective gear.
As the closure has yet to go in effect, those wanting to return to the regency can do so and tourists currently in Labuan Bajo can still leave. (dpk/dfr)