Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto arrived on Sebaru Kecil Island, Jakarta's Thousand Islands, Thursday, to observe the coronavirus (COVID-19)-related quarantine site for 188 Indonesians, World Dream liner’s crew repatriated, Sunday.

Several representatives of the National Police, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), Coordinating Human Development and Culture Ministry, Health Ministry, and several journalists joined Tjahjanto during the visit.

The military chief and his entourage boarded the Indonesian naval ship, John Lie-358, from the Tanjung Priok Port's Jakarta International Container Terminal pier at around 8 a.m. local time. The battle ship then headed to the small island and arrived there at around 11:30 a.m. local time.

Tjahjanto and his entourage observed the quarantine site to see 188 Indonesians sent back home amid ongoing concerns surrounding the deadly virus that had killed at least 2,800 people worldwide, mainly in mainland China, and infected over 81,700 people in different parts of the world.

In the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, Dream Cruises had earlier announced that departures of its several cruise ships were suspended and several of its crew members, including 188 Indonesians employed at the World Dream cruise ship, were sent home.

Speaking in connection with the repatriation of these 188 Indonesians, President of Dream Cruises Michael Goh noted in his press statement that ANTARA quoted in Jakarta early this week that they had been transferred to an Indonesian naval ship.

The transfer was conducted by the authority of this Genting Hong Kong-owned cruise line to the naval ship in the international waters near the Indonesian islands of Bintan in Riau Islands Province, he remarked in his statement on Sunday.

The Indonesian health authorities will conduct a comprehensive medical check-up of the crew members of the World Dream cruise ship as part of their precautionary measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

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 had tested negative for COVID-19, the Dream Cruises authorities confirmed in the recent World Dream Situation Report.

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

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

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

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

The decision was taken to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 and in the face of tightening travel restrictions by various countries. Genting Dream will resume operations in Singapore from March 27, 2020, according to this award-winning cruise line.

Goh affirmed that the health and safety of his cruise ships' guests and crew members remain his primary concern.

North Bali and Surabaya are on the list of this cruise line's popular destinations apart from Port Klang and Penang, Malaysia, as well as Phuket, Thailand.
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Translator: Fauzi, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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