Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The Komodo National Park (BTNK) has temporarily barred cruise ships from entering the park, in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the tourist area.

"The ban is aimed at protecting officials and the public living near the Komodo National Park from COVID-19," head of the national park Lukita Awang Nistyantara said in a statement here on Thursday.

Nistyantara said cruise ships are barred from entering the Komodo National Park in West Manggarai District, East Nusa Tenggara, from March 19 to May 19, 2020.

The temporary ban will be evaluated by the Forestry and Environment Ministry, as well as the local administration, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nistyantara said the ban has taken into account several concerns, including intensive interaction among tourists aboard ships, officials in the park, and local residents during visits.

The cruise ships, before visiting Komodo National Park, have a long journey and transited in several countries, including those affected by the virus such as Australia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Europe and the United States.

The government has declared a national emergency for COVID-19, as the virus has infected 227 people as of Wednesday (March 18). Among those infected, 19 have died and 11 have recovered.

The virus, as of Thursday, has infected 219,238 people worldwide. The death toll has reached 8,967 people and 85,742 patients have recovered.

In China there has been 80,928 reported incidents of infections, Italy 35,713, Iran 17,361, Spain 14,769, and Germany reports 12,327 cases.

The highest fatalities have been recorded in China at 3,245, followed by Italy 2,978, Iran 1,135, and Spain with 638. As many as 123 countries have confirmed having residents infected by the COVID-19 virus.

Related news: Australian passengers of Coral Adventure cruise ship flown home
Related news: Int'l events in Surabaya stand cancelled to avert coronavirus spread

Translator: Aloysius Lewokeda, Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2020