Thousands of Singaporeans travel by sea to Tanjungpinang, Bintan, and Batam
Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad urged both the regional government and the public to be vigilant against a surge in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the neighboring country, Singapore.

"In recent months, we have started to ease (the implementation of health protocols), (such as) rarely wearing masks. This is because (the number of) active cases has dropped drastically in Riau Islands, but now, we have to be vigilant because of the surging number of active COVID-19 cases in Singapore," he remarked here on Wednesday.

The governor drew attention to the quite high mobility of Singaporeans to the Riau Islands since the Indonesian government opened access to international ports in early 2022. On the other hand, the Government of Singapore has also opened access for foreign nationals to enter the country.

"Thousands of Singaporeans travel by sea to Tanjungpinang, Bintan, and Batam," he stated.

He remarked that the potential for COVID-19 transmission can occur during high public mobility.

"Anticipatory efforts can only be made by being disciplined in wearing masks in crowded places and while interacting," Ahmad stated.

Earlier, Riau Islands' Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) member Rudy Chua reminded the government to again tighten surveillance at airports and international ports in the region, as the number of new COVID-19 infections in Singapore increased, from 4,719 people to 11,732 people in a day, due to the new variant called XBB.

The COVID-19 XBB strain reportedly has a swifter transmission rate, although there have been no reports of the variant in Indonesia as of Wednesday, October 12.

"We are paying attention to the development of COVID-19 handling in Singapore because it directly borders Tanjungpinang and Batam. We hope that the government will make various efforts to anticipate the transmission of COVID-19," Chua, who is concurrently a COVID-19 volunteer coordinator, explained.

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Translator: Nikolas P, Kenzu T
Editor: Sri Haryati
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