Manokwari, W Papua (ANTARA) - As many as 6,823 workers have been sent home and 67 others have lost their jobs in the Indonesian province of West Papua on account of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a local government official.

One of the sectors severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the tourism industry, which has seen many hoteliers temporarily suspending businesses, head of the West Papua Provincial Government's Workforce and Transmigration Office, Frederik Saidui, said here on Wednesday.

Due to the difficult circumstances, several companies have been forced to send employees home. Some others have laid off workers.

While doing so, several employers have not paid any compensation to workers. If they have made a payment, it has only amounted to 50 percent of the total amount of their minimum wages, Saidui said.

Among the workers severely affected by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic are porters in the cities of Manokwari, Sorong, Kaimana, and Fakfak. They have lost their jobs after state-owned ship operator PT Pelni suspended services, he stated.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced the subcontractors of Tangguh LNG, an integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) operation in Bintuni, to send 4,326 workers home, Saidui informed.

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

The Indonesian Government officially announced the country's first confirmed cases on March 2 this year. The ongoing pandemic has weakened the purchasing power of scores of Indonesian families, particularly those who have lost their jobs.

As of May 5, 2020, Indonesia has recorded 12,071 confirmed cases, while the number of COVID-19 patients making a complete recovery has been registered at 2,197. The death toll from the deadly virus has reached 972 so far.

President Jokowi has highlighted the importance of fostering the spirit of "gotong royong", or mutual cooperation, in tackling the current crisis, given the fact that the government cannot work alone to fight the spread and fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The central and regional governments have been striving persistently to flatten the coronavirus curve by imposing healthcare protocols and social restrictions.

To break the chain of transmission, large-scale social restrictions have been applied in several cities, including Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi.

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

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Translator: Toyiban, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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