We have closed all border gates and barred entry to the West Kalimantan territory
Pontianak, West Kalimantan (ANTARA) - West Kalimantan has closed its land borders with Sarawak, Malaysia, since Wednesday to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), though foreigners were still permitted to leave the province from the border.

"We have closed all border gates and barred entry to the West Kalimantan territory," Manto, head of the West Kalimantan transportation office, stated when contacted here on Wednesday.

Residents of West Kalimantan are not allowed to cross the border into Sarawak, he remarked.

"Based on reports from our officers on the field, at the Entikong cross-border post (PLBN), there is no vehicular movement at the gate," Manto revealed.

The province has three cross-border gates with Sarawak: PLBN in Entikong, Badau, and Aruk.

Neighboring Malaysia had recently reported its second COVID-19 death, with cases totaling 673.

It has imposed a nationwide movement control order, effective since Wednesday until the end of the month. The order encompasses a comprehensive restriction on movements and public gatherings, including a ban on all religious, sports, social, and cultural activities.

The West Kalimantan administration had earlier suspended bus transportation on the Pontianak-Kuching (Malaysia) and Pontianak-Brunei Darussalam routes to curtail further spread of the virus.

"The suspension of bus transportation serving routes to the neighboring countries is a follow up of West Kalimantan governor's order pertaining to precautionary measures against COVID-19," Manto noted.

The authority awaits further instructions from the Transportation Ministry before reopening the transportation route.

"We hope this will end soon, and all activities can run normally," he stated.

Earlier, on Tuesday (March 17), the government had urged all citizens to restrict non-essential travel to other countries, as the number of coronavirus patients in the country continues to rise.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi has advised Indonesian citizens currently traveling abroad to return to Indonesia at the earliest to avoid further travel disruptions.
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Translator: Teguh Imam W, Sri Haryati
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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