Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi bore witness to the departure of 23 evacuation team members at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten Province, on Friday.
“The health condition of all of our citizens working as cabin crew at the Diamond Princess has thoroughly been examined. They have tested negative for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Hence, we send an evacuation team to pick them up," she remarked.
The evacuation team members boarded a Garuda Indonesia aircraft scheduled to take off on Friday at 4 p.m. Western Indonesia Time (WIB). It was scheduled to arrive at the Haneda International Airport on Saturday at 1 a.m. local time.
Shortly after their arrival at the Haneda International Airport, they would then pick up the 68 Indonesians to be airlifted. Their aircraft would arrive in Indonesia on March 1 at around 6 p.m. local time.
However, Marsudi steered clear from speaking about the city where the aircraft would land and disembark the evacuees.
The minister confirmed that two Indonesians had opted to stay at the Diamond Princess to continue working as the cruise ship's crew members. Thus, only 68 Indonesians will be airlifted from Japan.
The evacuation team members comprise representatives of related ministries and agencies, including the Indonesian Defence Force and National Police, Social Affairs Ministry, Transportation Ministry, and Legal and Human Rights Ministry.
The Indonesian government continues to claim that Indonesia remains free from confirmed COVID-19 cases.
However, a report released by the United Nations' World Health Organization as of February 25, 2020, noted that globally, there are 81,109 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the addition of 871 new cases, including 459 new cases in 37 countries outside China and 412 new cases in China.
Among the countries reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases are nations with Muslim-majority populations, including the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Oman, Egypt, and India.
On Feb 2, the Government of Indonesia had airlifted 238 Indonesians from Wuhan, China, which is believed to be the epicenter of this deadly virus since the end of 2019. They were then quarantined for 14 days in Natuna District, Riau Islands Province.
An Indonesian naval ship has also sent 188 Indonesians, the World Dream liner's crew, who were repatriated from the international waters near the Indonesian islands of Bintan on Sunday to a small island of Jakarta's Thousand Islands District for quarantine.
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