The Indonesian government has sufficient reasons for declaring a state of emergency over COVID-19
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Advisory Council has called on the Indonesian government to declare a state of emergency in the country over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on grounds of adequate reasons.

"The Indonesian government has sufficient reasons for declaring a state of emergency over COVID-19," Head of the MUI Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin noted in a press statement that ANTARA received in Jakarta on Thursday.

The virus has claimed at least 4,500 lives and infected over 120 thousand people worldwide. In Indonesia, 34 people have contracted COVID-19, and one has died of it, he remarked.

By taking into account this challenging reality, it becomes increasingly important for the government and the entire nation to demonstrate their sense of crisis and to remain honest and aware that the outbreak of this COVID-19 that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared to be a global pandemic has become a serious disaster, so it must not be downplayed, Syamsuddin emphasized.

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In addressing this challenging situation, the government is suggested to tighten its surveillance on the inflow of people from abroad, particularly from COVID-19-affected countries, at all entry gates across the archipelago, he noted.

The WHO also declared the outbreak of COVID-19 that has rapidly spread across the world and become a global pandemic.

The Indonesian government has put in place precautionary measures since the early stage of the coronavirus outbreak that 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 repatriated several hundred citizens.

On February 2, some 238 Indonesian nationals were airlifted from Wuhan, China, to then be quarantined in Natuna District's Riau Islands Province. All these Indonesians were found to be healthy and were reunited with their families.

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

The World Dream cruise ship's crew members and 69 cabin crew of the Diamond Princess had been sent to Sebaru Kecil Island, Jakarta's Thousand Islands, for a 14-day quarantine.

On March 2, 2020, President Jokowi declared that two Indonesians had tested positive for COVID-19. The number of infected confirmed by the government has tended to steadily rise over the past days.

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Translator: Erafzon SAS, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
Copyright © ANTARA 2020