I had conveyed yesterday that we had an option to evacuate our citizens but there are procedures for doing so
Tangerang, Banten (ANTARA) - Indonesia is still discussing options for evacuating its citizens, currently in Wuhan city, as the novel coronavirus has killed some 170 people and infected 7,711 others in China and at least 15 other countries.

"I had conveyed yesterday that we had an option to evacuate our citizens but there are procedures for doing so," President Joko Widodo said after speaking at the opening session of a national coordinating meeting on research and technology in Tangerang, Banten Province, on Thursday. The government would discuss necessary measures that need to be taken after the evacuation option was finalized at an internal meeting of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet, he said.

Regarding this, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said he had asked Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday morning to begin exploring regulations and procedures for evacuating the Indonesian citizens from Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province.

The government noted that there are 243 Indonesians currently living in Hubei Province but this figure is subject to change because the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing keeps updating the data and documents of the Indonesian citizens to ensure that none of them is left behind.

The government would discuss the stages of the evacuation process and decide a quarantine site for the evacuees later, President Jokowi further said.

Apart from that, the Indonesian military (TNI) would be involved in the evacuation process, and a TNI health team for the evacuation mission is ready. But, the stages of evacuation would be conducted as per China's regulations.

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The government's plan to evacuate all Indonesians from Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province has been enthusiastically welcomed.

An Indonesian student from South Sulawesi Province currently stranded in Wuhan enthusiastically welcomed the government's plan to evacuate Indonesian citizens from this China's epicenter of deadly new coronavirus outbreak.

"We are thankful and hopeful for the planned evacuation being prepared by the government," Patmawaty Taibe, who is taking up PhD in a Psychology Program at the Central China Normal University in Wuhan, said Thursday.

She follows the Indonesian media reports on the government's concerns for the fate of its citizens in Wuhan, which is under lockdown to halt the spread of the virus which has killed at least 132 people in China, she said.

The Indonesian Government has been making all preparations for conducting an immediate and proper evacuation mission while waiting for permission from the Chinese authorities.

"We are so happy to hear the news. May almighty God make all efforts to see the plan put in place," said Taibe, a teaching staff of the Bosowa University in Makassar, South Sulawesi Province, in her WhatsApp message.

Chinese authorities declared the first case of coronavirus after a person with pneumonia was hospitalized in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, according to an official statement of the WHO.

Over the past weeks, people, with symptoms of pneumonia and reported travel history to Wuhan, had been identified at international airports.

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Translator: Nabila AC, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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