A passenger was allowed on a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Sorong, Papua, despite having recently tested positive for COVID-19, Sorong health authorities have said.
Sorong Airport Health Office coordinator Farida Tariq said that health officials discovered that the passenger, a 20-year-old student, had tested positive for the disease during a routine health document check conducted when the passengers arrived at Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong on Saturday.
According to the latest government regulations on air travel, all prospective passengers must provide documents showing a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or rapid test result before being allowed to fly.
The student, a resident of South Sorong regency, traveled to Sorong with a group of 42 other students.
“We checked to ensure that all 43 students had the necessary documents, and one of them [had a document] showing their PCR test result was positive,” Farida said on Saturday as quoted by kompas.com.
She added that the document was issued by a West Java Health Agency laboratory on June 21.
Unsure of how the student was allowed to board the flight, Farida speculated that Soekarno-Hatta International Airport health officials in Jakarta may have been overwhelmed by the large number of passengers that day.
The Soekarno-Hatta Airport Health Office did not immediately respond to The Jakarta Post’s requests for comment.
Farida said there were around 90 passengers on the Jakarta-Sorong flight. All of them have been instructed to undergo self-quarantine for the next two weeks.
“Meanwhile, the 43 students will undergo swab tests at Sorong Pertamina Hospital,” she said.
According to the official government count, Papua is among the provinces hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak outside Java, with 1,670 confirmed cases and seven deaths as of Saturday.