The Jakarta Post
As many as 194 Malaysian and Indonesian citizens flew back to their respective homelands on Tuesday via Kualanamu International Airport in Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra.
Sixty nine Indonesians arrived at the airport at around 4 p.m. on a Malaysia Airlines flight.
Around 45 minutes later, 125 Malaysians flew home with the same airline, Kualanamu airport spokesperson Mulia Rahman said.
The group of Indonesians that returned from Malaysia comprised 13 men, 53 women, two children and a toddler, the majority of whom were migrant workers.
Earlier this month, 513 Indonesian domestic workers arrived from Malaysia at same airport.
All returnees were tested for COVID-19 upon arriving at Kualanamu, with all of them testing negative, authorities claimed.
"Upon arrival at Kualanamu airport, we checked their body temperatures and sprayed them with disinfectant. They all tested negative for COVID-19," the head of the Medan Port Health Office, Priagung Adhi Bawono, confirmed separately on Wednesday.
He added that all recently repatriated citizens would be quarantined in their respective regions to ensure public health and safety.
Malaysia Airlines station manager Rahmat Iskandar Dinata said the repatriation of the 125 Malaysians from Sumatra was facilitated by the Malaysian government. "The majority of them are students studying in Medan, Aceh and Padang," he said.
The Indonesian government had previously stated that it had no plans to repatriate Indonesian migrant workers and other citizens living in Malaysia, even though the neighboring Southeast Asian country has imposed a lockdown, effective since March 18, to curb the spread of the virus.
The lockdown has reportedly forced thousands of Indonesian workers to voluntarily return home.
Unfortunately, not all workers have used legal means to return. Authorities in North Sumatra and Riau Islands recently caught dozens of Indonesian migrant workers attempting to sneak past border authorities while returning from Malaysia. (vny)