The Jakarta Post
Residents in Pulau Sembilan village of Langkat regency, North Sumatra, refused to allow a Chinese fishing vessel to dock at a local port on Sunday over fears of COVID-19 transmission.
The MV Cheung Kam Wing initially planned to transport grouper fish from a local fishing company in the regency but eventually changed course over fears of a backlash from the residents.
One local, Misnaldi, said residents had never prevented foreign fishing vessels from docking before, but said they were concerned the crew could transmit the disease.
"We're worried that foreign crews could transmit COVID-19 to the locals. This is the reason we are denying foreign ships entry to Pulau Sembilan," Misnaldi told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Misnaldi said he was baffled by the government’s decision to still allow foreign ships to enter Indonesian waters, especially as it had asked residents to stay at home and had enforced a mudik (exodus) ban to curb the spread of the virus.
"It's not fair, foreign citizens are allowed to enter the country, while Indonesians are forbidden to go anywhere to curb the spread of COVID-19," he said.
Langkat Police deputy chief Com. Delami Saleh said the situation in the area had calmed after the ship changed course.
"It is now under control. The locals were reluctant to let a Chinese fishing vessel dock because they were concerned the crew might carry the coronavirus," Delami told the Post.
Langkat is one of several regencies in North Sumatra that have been categorized as “green zones”, or safe areas, amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Langkat COVID-19 rapid response task force spokesman Muhammad Arifin Sinaga said no confirmed cases had been recorded in the regency so far. (nal)