Our priority is, now, not just handling the mobility of our people in Indonesia, but also tackling the COVID-19 risks posed by those arriving from overseas trips
Jakarta (ANTARA) - At least 88,759 Indonesian migrant workers have returned from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong (China) amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Workforce Minister Ida Fauziyah said on Thursday.

"There will be 16,812 Indonesian migrant workers returning to Indonesia in May," she told journalists during a video conference after a limited cabinet meeting with President Joko Widodo in Jakarta.

Due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the ministry has suspended the departure of 34,644 migrant workers to other countries, Fuaziyah said.

Meanwhile, the returnees would be allowed to register as recipients of the government's aid programs, including those involving issuance of pre-employment cards and labor-intensive schemes, she noted.

Many of the migrant workers have been requested to self-quarantine as part of preventive measures against COVID-19 transmission.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has highlighted the significance of controlling the mobility of Indonesians and foreigners arriving in the country to curb the spread of imported COVID-19 cases.

He recently cautioned that several countries that flattened their coronavirus curve are currently challenged by imported cases, who are mostly patients with overseas travel records.

China, South Korea, and Singapore are among the countries currently facing what he termed as a novel wave of the new coronavirus disease-related threats.

"Our priority is, now, not just handling the mobility of our people in Indonesia, but also tackling the COVID-19 risks posed by those arriving from overseas trips," he noted.

Hence, President Jokowi reiterated the significance of strengthening policies on handling the inflow of foreign nationals and Indonesians arriving from overseas.

The coronavirus disease initially struck the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Since then, it has spread to at least 202 countries and territories, including Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll.

The Indonesian Government officially confirmed the country's first cases on March 2, 2020.

Since then, the central and regional governments have made persistent efforts to flatten the coronavirus curve by imposing healthcare protocols and social restrictions.

The central government has also banned homebound travel, locally known as 'mudik', during the fasting month of Ramadhan and the Idul Fitri holiday season.

As of April 29, 2020, the government has recorded 9,771 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country. While 1,391 patients have been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery, 7,596 others remain hospitalized. The death toll from the virus has reached 784. (INE)

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Translator: Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020