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Jakarta Post

Indonesian advance team in S. Korea’s Daegu dissolves as city recovers from COVID-19

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, March 27, 2020   /   04:42 pm
Indonesian advance team in S. Korea’s Daegu dissolves as city recovers from COVID-19 Indonesia's first advance team in Daegu, South Korea, gives medical supplies to Indonesian citizens on March 3, 2020. Daegu was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea. (Courtesy of/the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul/-)

Mission accomplished. 

The Indonesian Embassy in Seoul decided to shut down an advance post at the city of Daegu, South Korea, on Thursday in view of a lower risk of coronavirus spread in the country.

The post was established to help Indonesian citizens who were trapped in the city, which had become the main hot spot for COVID-19 cases in South Korea.

“The core mission of the advance post has been accomplished and Daegu is recovering,” said Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea Umar Hadi in a statement on Thursday.

Since March 13, Daegu’s rate of COVID-19 cases has been slowing, and is even lower than the number of those who have recovered. The scarcity of medical supplies such as masks has been solved by a number of new policies implemented by the South Korean government, especially those related to production and distribution.

People’s lives in Daegu and the surrounding area are returning to normal, the embassy said.

Read also: South Korea sees more virus patients released than new infections

Indonesian citizens in the city are in a safe condition. Students have started to return to class – although still through online platforms – and they have had extra attention from their universities.

“The Indonesian Embassy in Seoul, with the help of the Indonesian Student Association in South Korea [Perpika], is in constant communication with the students through phone calls or WhatsApp messages,” Umar said.

“Our [Indonesian] migrant workers continue to work as usual and they are receiving enough attention from their companies. The embassy engages with them through our partners, Indonesian religious communities, NGOs and Indonesian communities”.

The advance post was established on Feb. 27 to give special care and protection to more than 1,400 Indonesians residing in Daegu and the surrounding area. This measure was taken as an emergency response when Daegu was declared the epicenter of the surge of COVID-19 cases in South Korea – with around 70 percent of confirmed cases in the country coming from the city – and later designated a “special care zone” by the government.

The advance post, consisting of two advance teams, was located some 50 kilometers from the city center and functioned as a coordinating post between the embassy and the local authorities.

The second team, led by assistant defense attaché Maj. Khoirul Hadi Prayitno, with the help of embassy staffers Rizqi Adri, Komang Harry and Miftahul Iman had been on duty since March 12 and had returned to Seoul for a 14-day self-quarantine.

The first team, led by defense attaché Col. Imam Subekti, with the help of embassy staffers Riza Hera, Puji Basuki, Heru Wibowo, Khoirul Anam and Bagus Satrya had completed their self-quarantine earlier and have resumed their duty at the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul.

Read also: South Korea drive-in cinemas enjoy sales boom over virus fears

South Korea is deemed to have successfully flattened the curve of new infections across the country, including in Daegu, according to Umar.

Despite the success, the South Korean government remains consistent in urging its citizens to practice physical distancing over fear of another wave of infections from imported cases, with a possible spread in Seoul and Gyeonggi province.

“The Indonesian Embassy in Seoul calls on the Indonesian citizens in South Korea to remain calm, stay vigilant, obey the calls from local authorities and reach the embassy immediately upon needing help,” Umar said.