"We do not need to be worried. Do not worry," Social Affairs Minister Juliari Peter Batubara notified journalists here on Tuesday in connection with the government's plan to send them home to reunite with their respective families after completing their 14-day quarantine period.
Batubara attempted to convince the people at large, saying that those, under strict observation during the 14-day quarantine period in Natuna and confirmed to be healthy by the Health Ministry, would be allowed to return to their hometowns and reunite with their families.
"Hence, if they have been permitted to go home, then it is a guarantee that there is no need to be worried about," he noted. Hence, the people, at large, were urged to avoid harboring concerns over the health of their countrymen currently quarantined in Natuna following their evacuation from Wuhan, China, on Feb 2, he stated.
Early this week, the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Ministry had held a technical meeting for talks on the planned return of Indonesians to their provinces of origin after concluding their quarantine period in Natuna and declared healthy by the health authorities.
In connection with the planned return of 238 Indonesians in Natuna, the South Sulawesi provincial administration has been adopting precautionary measures since three of the 238 evacuees recently airlifted from Wuhan, China's epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, are the residents of Bulukumba District.
"We have coordinated with the provincial health office. We are taking precautionary measures and are preparing for their return from Natuna District after they complete their 14-day coronavirus incubation period," he had noted on Feb 5.
The provincial administration should ensure they are in good health after being quarantined, so that they can be united with their families in Bulukumba, he remarked.
Abdullah remarked that a special team had been prepared, with members comprising those from the South Sulawesi provincial and Bulukumba district administrations.
The Indonesian government had brought 238 Indonesians home. They were airlifted using a chartered aircraft and arrived in Batam City, Riau Islands Province, on Sunday, February 2. On the same day, they were all flown to Natuna and quarantined.
Before their departure, the health of these 238 Indonesian evacuees had been thoroughly examined by the Chinese authorities before being allowed to board the aircraft.
The Chinese health authorities confirmed that they were all in good health and could be airlifted, according to Indonesian Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto. There were seven other Indonesians, who did not join the evacuation.
Four of the seven were offered the opportunity to join the emergency evacuation but refused since they felt more comfortable there, while three others failed the health examinations by Chinese authorities, Putranto stated.
The coronavirus disease has posed a serious challenge to mainland China, as death toll from this virus outbreak climbed to 1,017, while as of Tuesday, according to The New York Times, the number of reported confirmed COVID-19 infections in China had reached at least 42,700.
EDITED BY INE
Related news: No Indonesians in China infected by coronavirus: Embassy
Related news: Health minister dismisses Harvard's study on Coronavirus in Indonesia