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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Indonesia steps up measures to anticipate influx of migrant workers returning home

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 31, 2020   /   01:40 pm
COVID-19: Indonesia steps up measures to anticipate influx of migrant workers returning home Medical workers check the ID card of an Indonesian traveler who is returning home from Malaysia at Bandar Sri Junjungan Port in Dumai, Riau, on Saturday. (Antara/Aswaddy Hamid)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has raised concerns over an increase in imported COVID-19 cases as migrants workers are expected to return from abroad for Idul Fitri. He has ordered regional leaders to take preventive measures to stop the further spread of the highly contagious respiratory disease.

He said he had received reports of around 3,000 Indonesian migrant workers returning from Malaysia in the past several days.

“We are concerned [because] some 1.8 million Indonesians may be leaving Malaysia, so we need to step up our measures for health screenings,” he said during a limited Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, citing data from the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) in 2019.

“If they show no symptoms, they can be sent back to their hometown, but they will be considered ODP [patients under general monitoring].”

In addition to migrant workers, the government is also preparing for the homecoming of 10,000 to 11,000 Indonesian crew members of luxury cruise ships.

China, South Korea and Singapore have encountered a “new wave” of COVID-19 infections, meaning that new confirmed cases of the disease did not come from local contagions but from those who had been traveling overseas.

Jokowi also said that the epicenter of the disease had shifted to Europe and the United States, so the government would also heavily monitor people entering Indonesia from both regions.

“I want the health protocols to be stricter at airports, seaports and border checks. And if they are asymptomatic but under observation for the disease, we will return them to their countries of origin,” the President said.

“But if they have symptoms, we will isolate them in a hospital, such as the one we are currently building in Galang Island, Riau Islands.” (glh)