RI issues travel advisory for citizens travelling to Latin America

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government of Indonesia has issued a travel advisory to Latin America related to the Zika virus outbreak in the region, Foreign Affairs Ministrys spokesperson Arrmanatha Nasir said.

"We have disseminated the statement from the Ministry of Health among all Indonesian nationals through our representatives abroad and we also put it on our website," Arrmanatha said during a press briefing on Thursday.

The spokesman noted the statement was not made to issue a warning, but to serve as advice to the Indonesian people travelling to Latin American countries, asking them to be more cautious.

Up till now, there have been no reports of Indonesian nationals becoming victims of the Zika virus, Arrmanatha added.

Previously, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had received reports from embassies in Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, notifying it that no Indonesian citizen in those countries had been affected by the Zika virus.

Particularly in Brazil, where the first Zika case was found, out of a total 345 Indonesians who live in the country, none were found to have been infected by the Zika virus, the report said.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health of Indonesia issued a travel advisory for all Indonesians, who live or visit Latin American countries to protect themselves from mosquitoes by wearing long clothes, applying anti-mosquitoes ointment, and sleeping under a canopy bed or using anti-mosquitoes netting.

The ministry also advised pregnant women to not visit Latin American countries, particularly the infected regions.

Zika has caused a global concern because of the rapid pace at which it is spreading.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has even announced a situation of global emergency following the outbreak of the Zika virus.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan described the rapid spread of the Zika virus as extraordinary and which has to be dealt with a coordinated response. (*)