Jakarta (ANTARA) - Safety and protection of Indonesian nationals overseas remains the highest priority of the Government of Indonesia amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi stated while reiterating the authority's commitment.

"We have assisted more than 1,600 cases of Indonesian nationals abroad, and support has been provided by our representatives," she noted at a press conference held via videoconference at the Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, on late Thursday (March 26).

Several Indonesian nationals living and/or traveling abroad are affected by the pandemic, as several countries impose nationwide quarantines, close borders, and ban or restrict international flights to curb the virus infection, Marsudi expounded.

Amid the global spike in the number of coronavirus patients, the authority has appealed to Indonesians abroad to return to Indonesia to lessen the risks of flight cancellations owing to the imposition of travel restrictions.

The Indonesian embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, for instance, has urged Indonesian tourists to immediately return to the home country to avoid untoward incidents.

"The Indonesian government has instructed all Indonesian nationals traveling overseas for non-essential business, such as for leisure, to immediately return to Indonesia. It is for your own safety," Ambassador of Indonesia to New Zealand, Tantowi Yahya, noted in a statement last week.

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Translator: Rangga Pandu A J/Genta Tenri M
Editor: Sri Haryati
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