Indonesia draws praises for evacuating its citizens from Wuhan

Indonesia draws praises for evacuating its citizens from Wuhan

Charles Honoris, a member of the House of Representatives (DPR's) Commission I overseeing security and foreign affairs (ANTARA/Boyke Ledy Watra)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government has been commended for its decision to evacuate Indonesians from Wuhan, China's epicenter of the deadly new coronavirus outbreak, and send them for quarantine to a military compound in Natuna, Riau Islands Province.

"The government has made all necessary preparations in accordance with the World Health Organization's (WHO's) observation protocol at an Indonesian Military (TNI) military compound," Charles Honoris, a legislator, noted in Jakarta on Monday.

Honoris, a member of the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) Commission I, overseeing security and foreign affairs, also lauded 42 members of the evacuation team and the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing that had been actively involved in the evacuation mission.

Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto stated that a total of 238 Indonesians were airlifted from Wuhan, while seven others remained in the Chinese city.

Four of the seven Indonesians refused to get evacuated since they felt more comfortable there, though they had been offered to join the emergency evacuation, while three others failed in the Chinese authorities' health examinations prior to departure, he stated.

The evacuation mission has demonstrated sound synergy and cooperation among related ministries and agencies, Honoris remarked, adding that this experience can serve as a good example while facing tough challenges in future.

Speaking in connection with the government's decision to suspend the free-visa facility for Chinese nationals and scheduled flights to and from Mainland China, he believes the right decision was taken since the safety of all Indonesians should remain a primary priority.

"May the current situation in China get better and the coronavirus outbreak soon be contained," he added.

On Sunday, President Joko Widodo held a limited meeting at the Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta with several cabinet members as well as national police and military chiefs following the evacuation of 238 Indonesians and five members of an advance team from China's Hubei Province.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told journalists following the meeting that the Indonesian government would have placed a temporary ban on flights to and from Mainland China since 00:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

All visitors, coming in from mainland China and been there for 14 days, were also temporarily banned from entering or making a transit in Indonesia, she noted.

In the interim, the government has also put a stop to the visa-free policy and issuance of visa on arrival for Chinese nationals residing in Mainland China. Indonesian nationals are advised to not travel to mainland China.

The limited meeting was held after the government airlifted 243 Indonesian nationals, including five members of an advance team, from Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak.

The new coronavirus has claimed the lives of at least 304 people in China, and a 44-year-old resident of Wuhan, who had received medical treatment in the Philippines, according to the New York Times.

Garuda Indonesia has suspended its flights to and from China since Wednesday at 00:00 a.m. local time to support the Indonesian government's endeavors to halt the spread of coronavirus outbreak that has claimed at least 304 lives in China and one in the Philippines.

The decision to suspend the flight routes from several cities in Indonesia to China was also made by the Indonesian national flag carrier following the World Health Organization's (WHO's) recent declaration on Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The suspension was part of Garuda Indonesia's serious attention to precautionary measures being taken to avert the spread of the deadly virus, the airline's president director, Irfan Setiaputra, noted in a press statement that ANTARA received here on Sunday.

Garuda Indonesia prioritizes the safety of aviation as well as passengers and crew members, he remarked, adding that the suspension was made effective for the flight routes to and from the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, and Xi'an.

Currently, the airline serves 30 scheduled flights to and from mainland China in a week while its flights to and from Hong Kong are being served under stringent surveillance of related authorities, Setiaputra stated. (INE) Related news: PMI to send 10 thousand N95 masks to Hong Kong
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