Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) Suhariyanto has forecast that the coronavirus outbreak in China will affect the number of foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia.

"Tourist arrivals from China to Indonesia reached some 12 percent in 2019," BPS head Suhariyanto stated in Jakarta on Monday.

The Indonesian government had earlier banned all travel to and from China to prevent the spread of the deadly and highly contagious novel coronavirus.

Suhariyanto conveyed that during the January-December 2019 period, tourists from China had contributed 12 percent to the total foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia, reaching 16.11 million visits.

Some two million tourists from China arrived in Indonesia over the past year, down slightly, from 2.1 million visits in 2018.

"It will definitely have an impact," Suhariyanto noted.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi had earlier remarked 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 from Mainland China and having lived 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 urged to not travel to Mainland China.

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

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, symptomatic with pneumonia and reported travel history to Wuhan, had been identified at international airports.

Apart from infecting China, several other countries, including Thailand, Australia, Singapore, the United States, Japan, and Canada, have announced their confirmed coronavirus cases.

However, none of the confirmed cases were found in Indonesia. Apart from this reality, since the issuance of an official statement by the WHO on the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Indonesian government has remained on alert.
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Reporter: Sella P, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Suharto
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