"We expressed our gratitude to Governor Ansar Ahmad and the province's authorities for supporting the central government's efforts for handling the arrival of migrant workers," Pandjaitan stated during a videoconference meeting to discuss migrant workers' quarantine on Sunday.
Health protocols must be enforced while handling arrivals to prevent surfacing of COVID-19 infection clusters in the region, he emphasized.
Pandjaitan remarked that the arrival of Indonesian migrant workers -- mostly working in Malaysia and Singapore -- in the province was handled suitably.
Riau Islands' border crossing has comprehensive procedures in place for PCR swab tests and separate handling procedures for COVID-19 positive migrant workers, and those measures have been executed properly at all times, the coordinating minister noted.
"A proper mechanism to handle arrivals is deemed necessary to ensure the COVID-19 infection rate in the province would continue to decrease, and COVID-19 positive migrant workers would not infect others," Pandjaitan stated.
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Meanwhile, Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad urged the central government to also allow the processing of migrant workers in Tanjungpinang, as currently arrivals are centered only in Batam.
"We urge the central government to allow us to process the migrant workers at two locations in Batam and Tanjungpinang and not center the migrant workers' arrival only at Batam," Governor Ahmad stated.
If migrant workers' arrival continues to be centered only in Batam, he expressed concern over the increase in expenses and facilities being incapable of handling them, he noted.
Tanjungpinang is more equipped to process migrant workers' arrival, as the arrival facility there has sufficient amenities and easier access and is directly supervised by the Social Ministry, Ahmad stated.
"The Social Ministry currently does not supervise the arrival procedures in Batam," the governor noted.
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Translator: Ogen, Nabil Ihsan
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