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Jakarta Post

More than 100,000 citizens return to Indonesia, 591 test positive for COVID-19

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta and Semarang   /   Tue, May 19, 2020   /   05:31 pm
More than 100,000 citizens return to Indonesia, 591 test positive for COVID-19 Indonesian migrant workers from Malaysia wait to return to their hometowns on April 28. As of May 18, Indonesia had repatriated more than 100,000 of its citizens, 591 of whom had tested positive for COVID-19. (Antara/Aswaddy Hamid)

A total of 132,978 Indonesian citizens abroad — consisting of crew members, migrant workers and students — had arrived in the country as of Monday, the national COVID-19 task force has said. Of those, 591 had tested positive for COVID-19.

Of the returnees, 4,343 arrived in Jakarta, 1,493 of whom have been repatriated to their respective regions, while 2,850 others were undergoing testing in the capital, task force chief Doni Monardo said.

“Of the total number, 279 have tested positive for COVID-19 through swab tests and are now receiving treatment at the Wisma Atlet [COVID-19 hospital in Central Jakarta],” Doni said in a video conference on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.

The number also included 203 Indonesians who arrived in Jakarta on Friday from Barbados, 131 of whom had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to their departure to Jakarta.

Authorities in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport directed the charter flight that was carrying the returnees to land on a designated portion of the runway and took the repatriated citizens for a second round of rapid testing at the airport, kompas.com reported.

Doni said 15,300 other Indonesians had arrived in Bali, 312 of whom had tested positive for COVID-19. “They are currently being treated at 13 referral hospitals in Denpasar and its surrounding areas,” Doni added.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said that more than 1,000 Indonesian migrant workers had returned home to Central Java after their work contracts expired or they were granted long-term leave.

Read also: COVID-19: #IndonesiaTerserah trends as frustration mounts over physical distancing violations, govt policies

He said a total of 1,124 migrant workers had entered the province after arriving at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten, while 21 others had arrived at Tanjung Emas port in Semarang.

“Also, on Friday, 69 people that were repatriated from Dili, Timor Leste, landed in Juanda Airport [in Surabaya, East Java]. They have undergone rapid testing, and we have prepared three buses to take them to Central Java,” Ganjar said on Monday.

Ganjar said he had received information that 747 Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia planned to return to Central Java via Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang from Monday to Saturday.

“The implementation might be different. The data was sent to us so that we could be better prepared,” he said, adding that, on Monday, only 57 of the expected 158 migrant workers had arrived.

The arriving citizens would be quarantined at the Central Java Human Resources Development Agency (BPSDM) building in Srondol for two to three days while waiting to be transported their respective towns, Ganjar added.

He said the returnees would be regularly examined, would undergo rapid testing and would observe health protocols at the BPSDM building. Those who tested positive in rapid tests had been separated from those who tested negative.

“We have prepared enough space. We hope everyone is healthy,” said Ganjar, adding that strict health protocols would also be applied to those arriving by sea.

Ganjar called on regency and city administrations in the province to prepare to support all migrant workers undergoing the required 14-day quarantine. (syk/asp)