Minister urges returning migrant workers to undergo genome sequencing

Minister urges returning migrant workers to undergo genome sequencing

Heathcare workers conduct antigen COVID-19 rapid tests on migrant workers in Riau Islands Province on Tuesday (May 18, 2021) after their return from Malaysia. ANTARA/HO-Kemenko PMK

This is the point of conducting genome sequencing. We must take precautionary measures against those arriving from abroad since we are focusing on preventing new variants (of COVID-19), including those from Africa, Britain, and India.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy urged relevant authorities to detect whether hundreds of returning Indonesian migrant workers in Riau Islands Province were carrying the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.

"This is the point of conducting genome sequencing. We must take precautionary measures against those arriving from abroad since we are focusing on preventing new variants (of COVID-19), including those from Africa, Britain, and India," Effendy noted in a written statement released on Wednesday.

The minister made the statement in response to a report that some 170 Indonesian migrant workers had tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Riau Islands from Malaysia.

Meanwhile, a total of 33 Indonesian migrant workers that had recently arrived from Malaysia also tested positive for COVID-19 in North Sumatra Province.

The Indonesian migrant workers have secured COVID-19-free certificates from the Malaysian authorities before returning to Indonesia. However, after conducting self-isolation and taking repeat tests in Indonesia, they were found to be infected with COVID-19.

Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has instructed the Health Research and Development Board (Balitbangkes) to conduct genome sequencing on Indonesian migrant workers returning from Malaysia.


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At least 90 Indonesian migrant workers have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment in Batam City, Riau Islands Province, according to the Batam City chapter of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Repatriation Task Force.

"Some 90 people are positive (for COVID-19)," chief of the task force, Sigit Dharma Wiryawan, concurrently commander of the Batam Military District Command 0316, stated here on Monday.

Another 34 Indonesian migrant workers have been quarantined in Batam shortly after their return from Malaysia, he stated.

Nine of the 34 migrant workers are undergoing quarantine at a flat provided by the Batam city administration, while 25 others are conducting self-isolation, he remarked.

Hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers that arrived in Batam since the start of the holy month of Ramadhan have returned to their hometowns across Indonesia, he stated.
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