Indonesians must respect COVID-19 protocols: Defense Minister

Indonesians must respect COVID-19 protocols: Defense Minister

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto welcomes an Indonesian Air Force Hercules C-130 carrying 12 tons of medical supplies from China on Monday (March 23, 2020). (ANTARA/HO-Ministry of Defense)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto on Monday urged citizens to respect the protocols laid down by the government to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease and continue to work and learn from home.

"People who have been urged to work from home, please work from home. Do not have a picnic at the beach. This is what we must tell our children. Learning from home is not a school holiday. Instead, it is learning from home," he said in Jakarta on Monday.

Speaking at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airbase, where he received an Indonesian Air Force Hercules C-130 cargo plane bearing 12 tons of medical supplies from China, Subianto said community members also need to observe the rules on social distancing, hand-washing, and bathing.

Active participation from the people in implementing the necessary preventive measures would support Indonesia's collective fight to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, which the WHO has declared a global pandemic, he said.

As part of efforts to tackle COVID-19, the government had dispatched a Hercules C-130 plane to the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai to bring back medical supplies from China.

The military cargo plane arrived at Pudong Airport at 10.20 p.m. on Saturday and left the airport at 00.40 a.m. on Sunday. The plane made a transit stop at Sanya Airport in Hainan Province before continuing its flight to Indonesia.

"The plane was sent to transport the aid, at the initiative of the Indonesian Defense Ministry," Indonesian Ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun told ANTARA.

According to Indonesia's Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing, Dino Kusnadi, the medical supplies, which include masks, goggles, protective clothing, and COVID-19 test kits, were donated by different parties, including Inacham and Tsingshan Charity Foundation.

The medical supplies received on Monday were the first consignment of aid. China is expected to release another 20 tons of medical aid for Indonesia.

Earlier, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto had written to the TNI commander, requesting help in transporting the medical aid to the country. The ministry has also established a special team to handle coronavirus.

Besides sending its C-130 unit to China, the TNI has also deployed a 140-member medical team at Wisma Atlet (athletes' residence) in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, which the central government has been using as an emergency hospital for COVID-19 cases.

Members of the medical team include general practitioners, specialists, nurses, and pharmacists.

As per government data, Indonesia had 514 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 22, even as the death toll from the deadly virus reached 48. Meanwhile, 29 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals.

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