Indonesian police to act against coronavirus profiteers: minister

Indonesian police to act against coronavirus profiteers: minister

Indonesia's top security minister, Mahfud MD (Antara Foto/Syaiful Hakim)

Amid this coronavirus issue, the government classifies rush for and hoarding goods for the sake of profit-making into an act of economic subversion
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Police would take stern action against community members who hoard goods, including medical masks, for profit amid ongoing public concerns surrounding China's novel coronavirus outbreak, Indonesia's top security minister Mahfud MD has warned. "Amid this coronavirus issue, the government classifies rush for and hoarding goods for the sake of profit-making into an act of economic subversion," Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD told journalists on the sidelines of his visit to the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) here Thursday.

To this end, the police would enforce criminal law against those engaged in panic buying and hoarding purchased goods which they resell at higher prices.

"The police will charge them with articles within criminal code," the Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs said.

In facing the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Mahfud MD urged people to remain calm. "Please do not panic because COVID-19 is like many other infectious diseases. The death toll of this COVID-19 is even smaller than other illnesses," he said.

The death toll of influenza, commonly known as the flu, for instance, was bigger than that of the COVID-19 while the death toll of lung disease was 50 times bigger than that of the COVID-19, he said.

In dealing with the current situation, the government is well prepared so the people need not be too worried, he added.

The Indonesian government has put in place precautionary measures since the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak that had first struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December 2019.

In addition to installing thermal scanners at the country's airports and seaports as well as making preparations at hospitals across the archipelago, the Indonesian government had repatriated several hundreds of its citizens.

On February 2, a total of 238 Indonesian nationals were airlifted from Wuhan, China, to then be quarantined in Natuna District's area in Riau Islands Province. All of them were found to be healthy and sent back to their families.

The Indonesian government also repatriated 188 Indonesians employed as crew members of the cruise ship World Dream Liner and 69 Indonesians employed as cabin crew members of the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

The World Dream cruise ship's crew members have been sent to Sebaru Kecil Island, Jakarta's Thousand Islands, for a 14-day quarantine, while 69 others are to be taken to the same island this week.

On March 2, 2020, President Jokowi declared that two Indonesians had tested positive for COVID-19, so they were treated in an isolated room of the Jakarta-based Sulianti Saroso Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The deadly virus outbreak, which has infected 65 countries, including Indonesia, claimed at least three thousand lives – most of whom are in China – and infected over 98,000 people worldwide. (INE)

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