They are allowed to leave the COVID-19 testing area only if they have got legal notices confirming that they have taken rapid tests with non-reactive results
Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA) - Fourty seven merchants at the Pabean and Panggung Street Markets in Surabaya, the capital of East Java Province, have been sent to a hotel for isolation while waiting for the results of their swab tests, according to a local government official.

They were temporarily isolated after the rapid tests that they took along with other 300 merchants on Saturday (July 25) showed the reactive results, Head of Surabaya's Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) Eddy Christijanto told local journalists on Sunday.

The Surabaya city administration has intensified its COVID-19 testing program to halt the spread of novel coronavirus disease by facilitating local residents, including merchants at the city's traditional markets, to take rapid and swab tests, he said.

The similar testing program had earlier been conducted at the Keputran Utara and Keputran Selatan Markets, he said, adding that the rapid and swab tests would likely be held at all traditional markets around the city.

The Surabaya city government involves medical workers, Satpol PP personnel as well as those from the law enforcement agencies to make the COVID-19 testing program successful because not all of the merchants are willing to take the tests, he said.

Those attempting to get rid of the rapid and swab tests at the Pabean and Panggung Street Markets could not do anything after all access roads had been closed by the city police and military apparatuses, he said.

"They are allowed to leave the COVID-19 testing area only if they have got legal notices confirming that they have taken rapid tests with non-reactive results," he said.

The Surabaya city government has been attempting to flatten the COVID-19 curve by implementing the preventive measures mandated by the government's health protocols.

In breaking the chain of COVID-19 in the city, Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini had even led an intensified public awareness campaign on the importance of consistently wearing face masks and implementing other preventive measures.

On July 12, for instance, along with several officials from Surabaya's regional apparatus organization (OPD) and those from the city police and Satpol PP, Rismaharini made her impromptu visit to several markets and neighborhoods around the city.

She rode a motorcycle during her impromptu visit to such places as Pakis, Krempyeng Putat Jaya, Mbok Abang, Ghanok, Soponyono, and Paing markets as well as the neighborhood areas of Banyu Urip Kidul, Simo Gunung Kramat Timur, and Simo Kwagean Kuburan.

During her visit to the places, including small villages, around this capital city of East Java Province, Rismaharini appealed to local residents to keep wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing measure while venturing outdoors.

When seeing adults and kids who did not wear face masks, she asked her assistants to distribute the face masks to them.

"I appeal to all residents of Surabaya to respect the COVID-19 protocols through this public awareness campaign," she said.

Coronavirus infections initially surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

Since then, COVID-19 has spread to over 215 countries and territories, including 34 provinces of Indonesia, with a massive spurt in death toll.

The Indonesian government officially confirmed the country's first cases on March 2 this year. Surabaya has become one of Indonesia's cities with relatively high COVID-19 cases.

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Translator: Abdul H, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2020