Jakarta (ANTARA) - Workers have begun construction of a helipad for use in the possible evacuation of 188 Indonesian citizens on Sebaru Island, Thousand Islands, DKI Jakarta Province.

Based on Antara's observations on Tuesday, workers transported empty sacks, iron and other equipment from the dock in the western part of the island to the island’s southern coast.

The empty sacks are being filled with beach sand and piled along the shoreline to prevent rising sea waters from reaching the helipad, which is expected to be completed in the next two days.

Earlier, Commander of Joint Regional Defense Command I (Pangkogabwilhan) Vice Admiral Yudo Margono had alerted a helicopter to prepare evacuations from Sebaru Island to carry Indonesian citizens if they were exposed to the coronavirus.

Three helicopter units were prepared at Pantara Island, Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base and onboard the KRI Banda Aceh (593).

"We have prepared if the worst happens," Yudo said.

Dream Cruises reported earlier that Hong Kong's Department of Health had confirmed that all guests and crew onboard World Dream had cleared extensive health screenings and temperature checks.

All samples taken from the 1,814 crew members tested negative for COVID-19, Dream Cruises officials confirmed.

Related news: Dream Cruises repatriates Indonesian crew over COVID-19 outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak, which initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019, has forced several airlines, including national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, to suspend direct flights to and from mainland China.

The ongoing concerns surrounding this deadly virus outbreak has also compelled Dream Cruises to suspend departures of its cruise ships, including World Dream and Explorer Dream.

According to the cruise line's website, World Dream cancelled departures from Keelung from February 11, 2020 to March 20, 2020, as well as on March 23, March 27 and March 28, 2020.

The Explorer Dream ship's departure has also been cancelled from March 1 to April 4, 2020, while the operations of Genting Dream was suspended from Singapore starting February 23, 2020.

The decision was taken to assist in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 and due to tightening travel restrictions by various countries. Genting Dream will resume operations in Singapore on March 27, 2020, according to cruise line officials.

Related news: PLN sets up generator on Sebaru Island

Related news: Indonesia plans medical center for disease control

Reporter: Fauzi, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2020