"The observation (is needed) until they are really declared clear and deemed fit to return to their respective families. That is the health protocol we must follow," he stated in Sukajaya, Bogor District, West Java Province, on Monday.
The 243 Indonesians comprised 238 Indonesians, who had earlier stayed in China, and five members of an advance team.
The president further expressed gratitude to the Natuna community to allow the island to quarantine the 243 Indonesians in accordance with the health protocol.
"I also thank the Natuna community that have given the green light, realizing that they are also our brothers. Admittedly, we had several alternatives yesterday (to accommodate them) in Morotai or Biak. However, not all islands can be used," he stated.
As many as 238 Indonesians returning from Wuhan arrived at the Raden Sajad Airbase in Natuna Island, Riau Islands Province, on Sunday (Feb 2) after transiting at the Hang Madim Airport in Batam Island. The figure excluded five members of the advance team.
Seven Indonesians were unable to fly from Wuhan to Indonesia on account of several reasons. The government had originally planned to evacuate 245 Indonesians and five members of the advance team from Wuhan.
"To be sure, 238 Indonesians had arrived from Wuhan. Four Indonesians gave up, while three others failed to clear the check conducted by the Chinese government," Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto stated.
They were flown to Indonesia aboard a Batik Air Airbus A330, with a seating capacity of 392 people.
On Sunday, President Widodo had held a limited meeting at the Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta with several cabinet ministers as well as National Police and National Military chiefs following the evacuation of 238 Indonesians and five members of an advance team from China's Hubei Province.
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 killed at least 304 people in China and a 44-year-old Wuhan resident, who had 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.
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. Related news: PMI to send 10 thousand N95 masks to Hong Kong
Related news: 238 Indonesians evacuated from Wuhan, seven remain in the city: govt
Related news: President holds meeting following evacuation of Indonesians from China
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