Aceh Besar (ANTARA) - Two Malaysian airlines have temporarily ceased flight services on the Aceh-Kuala Lumpur and Aceh-Penang routes following the neighboring country's nationwide movement restriction order, according to the Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport authority.

"The temporary suspension of flights of Air Asia and Firefly to Aceh was notified in a letter that we had received recently," General Manager of state airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II at the international airport Indra Gunawan stated here on Monday.

Air Asia had suspended its flights from March 19 to March 31, 2020, while Firefly cancelled its flights from March 23 to March 30, 2020, Gunawan noted, adding that Indonesia's national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia had also decided to reduce its flight frequency.

Garuda has reduced its flight frequency on the Banda Aceh-Jakarta route to once a day. The postponement of its flights for GA-143's Banda Aceh-Jakarta and GA-142's Jakarta-Banda Aceh is in effect until March 31, he noted.

In containing the spread of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the airport authority has strengthened its preventive measures by providing more handwashing and hand sanitizer facilities as well as activating social distancing at the airport area, he pointed out.

Malaysia has imposed a nationwide movement restriction to prevent the spread of the global pandemic of this COVID-19 that firstly struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December 2019.

Coordinator of the Information and Socio-Cultural Affairs at the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur Agung Cahaya Sumirat remarked that 13 Indonesian citizens residing in the country had contracted the virus.

Quoting the Malaysian Health Ministry's information as of Monday, Sumirat noted that the latest case of an Indonesian confirmed to be diagnosed with COVID-19 was the one residing in Kuching, the capital of the Malaysian State of Sarawak.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of at least 9,840 people and infected no less than 234,073 individuals in 176 countries and territories worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Indonesia, as of March 22, the government revealed that there were 514 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while the death toll from this deadly virus had reached 48, and 29 COVID-19 patients had been discharged from hospitals.

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Translator: M. Ifdhal, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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